While a win made Bradley Central soccer coach Tucker Blackmon happy Thursday evening, the way his Bears won didn’t.
“A win is a win and I’m happy we won, but we missed seven or eight shots in the 6-yard box. We had plenty of opportunities to score but we didn’t finish,” he stated after the Bears made just one of 27 shots on goal in a 1-nil victory over visiting Chattanooga Central.
“We beat a solid Hixson and CSAS (Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences) to begin the year, but in the last four or five games we haven’t looked like that team.”
“It’s frustrating to see the potential and not have us follow through on it,” Coach Blackmon assessed. “We played a good defensive game (only giving the Purple Pounders three shots on goal) and we had some guys really trying hard, but overall, as a team, we didn’t have a good effort.”
Now 5-7 on the season, but winless in a half dozen District 5-AAA matches, Bradley will return to their home pitch this evening at 6 when league-leader Ooltewah comes calling.
“Our destiny as the No. 7 seed is already sealed no matter what we do tomorrow (Friday) night,” the coach told the team. “So we can either come out here and lay down, or without any pressure we can come out and give our best effort and make Ooltewah know they were in a match.”
The Bears also have home nondistrict matches against Cumberland County (Monday), Coffee County (Tuesday) and Sequoyah (Thursday) next week before the postseason play begins the following week.
Bradley took control of Thursday’s match with Chattanooga Central from the get-go, firing off eight shots on goal, including a rapid fire three from the box, in the first 15 minutes, but to no avail.
“We had three shots in about 10 seconds and we couldn’t get it in,” Coach Blackmon bemoaned.
It wasn’t until the final of the first half’s dozen shots on goal that Bradley found the back of the net. In the 35th minute Austin Childs gained control of the ball on the right flank and sent a centering pass in front of the box when teammate Mason McCann fired it past the Pounder goalkeeper from seven yards out.
“That was a good goal,” declared coach Blackmon. “Austin fought hard for it (the ball) and got a good pass to the center and Mason was able get off a good shot.”
The Bears continued to pepper the Pounder goal in the final 40 minutes with 15 shots getting fired off but several found the crossbar or side post and ricocheted away. Like he had done in the first half, the Chattanooga Central keeper proved to be tough between the pipes, making a dozen saves on the evening.
Bradley keeper Joey White saved two of the three shots he faced, while the other went wide. “He’s always a stud,” proclaimed coach Blackmon. “It’s not fair sometimes when he’s getting shot on from the 6-yard line, but he’s a stud.”