By Bret McCormick
South Pointe bounced back from a 6-0 defeat to Nation Ford Friday night by dropping Indian Land 2-0 Saturday morning at Manchester Meadows in the seventh annual Manchester Cup. The Stallions (6-10-1, 5-5 Region 3) left it late, but junior Josh Reid scored the go-ahead goal with 20 minutes left in the game, before setting up Peyton Marion for the second minutes later to help David Parnell's team to a much-needed win.
“After last night,” said Parnell, “guys had to come back today and redeem themselves. Indian Land, don't take no knocks on them, they know how to play and are well-coached.”
It was a sluggish first half for both teams, not surprising given their players are more used to sleeping in on Saturday mornings. South Pointe's best chances were limited to a pair of long distance drives from Kyle Dix, while Indian Land's Anthony Cutrone pestered the Stallions' back line but couldn't really produce much of considerable danger.
The Warriors (12-3, 4-0 Region 4-AA) came into the game ranked third in the state in Class AA, but they labored to create chances against a well-organized South Pointe rearguard. Cutrone was the source of much of their threat; he was fouled three minutes into the second half right at the top of the box, but his free kick was deflected out for a corner kick.
Despite playing the night before, the Stallions grew stronger in the second half, while Indian Land seemed to fade under the glaring sun. Parnell's team knocked the ball around confidently, and Marion went close with an effort that just flew over the top. It proved an unheeded warning.
A lengthy spell of South Pointe possession saw the ball swung out wide to Reid with about 19 minutes left in the game, and when he cut inside onto his right foot and unleashed a low fizzer, Warrior keeper Trevor Hoxworth was unable to keep the ball out of the corner of the goal.
Up 1-0, South Pointe increased the pressure, and got the crucial second goal about three minutes later. Reid again was the architect, receiving the ball out wide and taking on the defender. He was pushed out wide, but managed to square the ball to Marion, who cleverly let it roll across his body before side-footing into the corner, with the help of Hoxworth's outstretched arm, for a 2-0 lead.
“He's one of our key players,” South Pointe captain Cody Rebh said about Reid. “We like to get wide and on this field it's really wide. Usually, we don't have this much width.”
Indian Land still had time for its best chance of the game, but after Elihjah Roberts chipped over the Stallion defense for Nick Retter, his shot caromed off the crossbar and was cleared, as the Warriors fell to their first defeat in six matches.
Fort Mill 3, Rock Hill 0
Fort Mill (18-2, 9-1 Region 3) handled Rock Hill in a 3-0 Region 3 win Saturday afternoon. Jason Hirsch curled in the Yellow Jackets' first with just three minutes left in the first half, after it looked like Rock Hill (7-8, 4-6) would survive the first half unscathed despite heavy Fort Mill pressure.
In the second half, Lloyd Chalker's Yellow Jackets dominated, and they were up 2-0 within two minutes of the restart. Rylan Wells and William Hughes played a smart give-and-go setting up the former to smack a low finish into the corner. Taylor Sheets added a quality third late, when he chested down Mark Kaplan's cross and thumped a volley into the Rock Hill goal.
Northwestern 1, Nation Ford 1 (7-6 PK's)
Northwestern and Nation Ford meet Tuesday in Region 3 play, having opted not to count Saturday's game as a region match. The Trojans (12-1, 8-0 Region 3) took the lead about 15 minutes into the contest, Erwin Salazar prodding the ball home after a scramble in the goalmouth.
Nation Ford (8-4, 7-3) got a deserved equalizer when the ball fell for freshman Nick Jordan to drive into the corner after the Trojans failed to clear their lines. The match went to penalties, and both sides missed their first kicks before converting the next six. Cody Jones stopped the Falcons eighth shot, before John David Collins slotted home the winner for Northwestern.
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T