Elizabeth Forward loses contest in final seconds
MOUNT PLEASANT – When Class AA Sec. 1 rivals Elizabeth Forward and Mt. Pleasant met earlier this season, the Warriors won their season opener by scoring with 1:11 left in regulation for a 1-0 victory.
The Vikings apparently felt compelled to deliver an even more dramatic finish in Thursday’s rematch.
Mount Pleasant forward Brandin Fetherlin collected a free throw, got past the Elizabeth Forward defense, and beat goal keeper Russell Booth with two seconds remaining to give the Vikings a stunning 2-1 victory.
With the win, the Vikings climbed into a first place tie with the Warriors.
“I thought overtime was inevitable,” Mount Pleasant coach Ed Brewer said. “Luckily for us, that’s not what happened.”
With less than 10 seconds remaining, Fetherlin controlled a Mt. Pleasant free throw, and somehow made his way past an EF defense that perhaps had considered overtime a foregone conclusion.
EF coach Dave King did not quite see it that way.
“Their forward pushed off of our guy,” King said. “That’s what happened, but I’m not making excuses. These are two very evenly matched teams, and it was quite a game.”
EF (6-5, 5-2) controlled play in most of the first half, and scored the game’s first goal when Jeremy Delmaster sneaked past the Vikings’ defense and beat keeper Vance Rumbaugh.
But the Vikings (8-4, 5-2) came out flying in the second half, and quickly tied the game when Brian Hauser scored off a throw-in from Eric Snyder.
“We just made a mental mistake there and didn’t have the near post covered,” King said.
After tying the game, Mount Pleasant controlled most of the second half, nearly taking the lead on many occasions. But, Booth stood tall, making a number of quality saves.
Late in the second half, the momentum swung again as Delmaster nearly scored on two different scoring chances.
The Warriors are used to playing on an artificial surface, and appeared to struggle on the grass field that was in horrible condition after recent rain.
“We’re not making excuses, but that did hurt us a lot,” King said. “That really did take away our skill position players.”
After EF missed on an opportunity with under a minute left, the Vikings hurried the ball down the field before earning the free throw that ultimately set-up the game winner.
“I’m not unhappy with how we played tonight,” King said. “We played hard. It was a great game.”
NOTES: The game was originally scheduled as a home game for EF, but the Warriors hosted Mount Pleasant earlier this season when the Vikings’ field was in poor condition.