Tough contest, no goals, for Chargers and Jets
No Chargers or Jets left Monday evening's soccer match between Northwood and visiting county rival Jordan-Matthews fully happy. Eighty minutes produced a scoreless draw despite a fast pace of play and swings in which side looked most likely to come up with a goal.
Jordan-Matthews (2-0-1) had the majority of shots and possession, especially through the first 50 minutes while Northwood (0-1-1) played its best from early in the second half on and outpaced the Jets a few times for chances, but not a go-ahead goal.
The main key, certainly a week into the new season, and certainly for the Chargers in what was their second match under new head coach Bret Pedigo, is what can be taken from a hard-fought 0-0 result.
"No, I don't know any competitor who's going to be happy with (a 0-0 final). It's like a loss," Pedigo said.
While giving credit to the Jets for their intensity and for making everything the Chargers tried to do difficult all over the field, Pedigo was optimistic, if not happy a few minutes after the match ended, with how his Chargers went from mostly defending versus Jet possession to creating more attacking as the match played on.
"We want to play fast, play strong and play smart," Pedigo said. "As a coach, you preach it, and the guys show they can do it, but sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't, because they're teenagers."
Jordan-Matthews notched two wins opening the season last week; a 5-0 victory at Uwharrie Charter and a 1-0 win at Eastern Randolph. The Jets outshot the Chargers 13-3 in the first 40 minutes Monday. Most of the shots were from long range and off the mark but the central midfield control by Jonathan Hernandez and Elmer Alvarez kept the pressure on Northwood defense.
Late in the first half, Bryan Guerrero's header from short range on a Jet corner kick was barely tipped over the bar by Charger keeper Ian Webster.
Northwood's best chances in the opening half came via long balls, then sprints by Brandon Hubbard or J.R. Godwin.
Combining the speed with better passing and possession was part of what Pedigo was preaching.
"The second half was much different. We really want to connect passes and we began doing that," he said.
"Jordan-Matthews was in the passing lanes a lot. They made it tough and they do a lot of things well, so credit to them," said Pedigo.
Godwin remained an attacking threat up front and Thomas Russell created shots in the box and crosses into the box.
Webster, who finished with seven saves, was needed for another difficult stop when Angel Lagunes sent a low drive on net from the top of the Charger penalty box and Webster dove in time.
The total overall shots finished 18-10 for the Jets and shots on goal were 7-2.
The Jets get their first two home matches of the season tonight, versus Eastern Randolph at 6 p.m., and tomorrow, versus Lee County at 6 p.m.
The Chargers will host Riverside at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday before the second leg of the county rivalry, at Jordan-Matthews, on Sept. 3.