Golden Eagles earned Clay County bragging rights with two golazos
By Official Florida FC
One of Florida’s last unbeaten and untied teams kicked off the new year with a sour note on Wednesday night. Fleming Island bested Oakleaf in a Clay County derby 2-1 behind a pair of first-half wondergoals.
“The last three, four, five years Oakleaf and Fleming Island has been a bloodbath,” said Fleming Island boys soccer coach Mike Green. “They all know each other. They play at the same club and don’t want to lose to each other.”
The Golden Eagles (7-5) had not played since mid-December. But, their finishing did not show signs of deterioration. Noah Eaton opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a blistered shot from 20 yards away that found the upper 90.
Fleming Island’s ability to win second balls allowed the Golden Eagles to control the tempo of the match. Oakleaf (9-1) played a 4-3-3 system where it wanted to move the ball vertically quickly to center forward Drew Ammon and an array of fleet-footed wingers beside him.
The space between the Oakleaf forwards and midfield allowed Fleming Island to dictate the middle of the pitch. Midfielder Matthew Male repeatedly took the space he was afforded down the Fleming Island right.
Male’s forays led to the Golden Eagles’ second goal. The junior gained possession 45 yards from goal, waltzed past a trio of Oakleaf defenders and found the far corner to double the Fleming Island advantage.
Oakleaf senior midfielder Braden Hill halved the deficit with a flashpoint of excellence in the 48th minute.
Knights goalkeeper Peyton Gbelayan made six saves on the night, including stops in the 59th and 60th minutes to set up a grandstand finish. With four minutes remaining Oakleaf had a chance to equalize after earning a soft penalty kick. However, the Knights’ blazed their effort over the bar.
“They played with heart,” Green said of his team. “They played their hearts out. It was (great) effort. I couldn’t have asked for anything else. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Here are photos from the match.
Oakleaf at Fleming Island boys soccer
Fleming Island and Oakleaf squared off in a Clay County derby
(Photos by Official Florida FC)