Tough loss for Tigers: Gardendale stops Demopolis 2-1 in high school soccer action

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; The Demopolis soccer team was unsuccessful in staving off its fifth consecutive loss Tuesday afternoon, falling to Gardendale 2-1 in an area match.

After nearly 36 minutes of scoreless play, Gardendale&8217;s Travis Hand broke through with the game&8217;s first goal to give the Rockets the 1-0 halftime lead.

The second half saw another defensive struggle and a host of missed Tiger opportunities. With 26:25 to go in the game, Demopolis failed to convert on a free kick opportunity that would have tied the game. Nearly six minutes later, freshman Matt Kelso converted on what eventually proved to be the game-winning goal, giving Gardendale the 2-0 lead.

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After repeated efforts in the opposing end of the field, DHS finally broke through when senior Rob Cooke headed the ball past the Gardendale goalie off a Tyler Brooker assist to cut the lead in half and give the Tigers hope with only 14:05 remaining in the contest.

Following the goal, Gardendale went back on the offensive, pushing ball across midfield and making an attempt at cushioning its lead. The flurry ended poorly for Demopolis as sophomore goalkeeper Racheal Walker came out of the net and successfully stopped the attempt, colliding with a Gardendale player on the play. She stayed down for several minutes following the play, drawing Keen onto the field and bringing a hush over the stadium. After assessing his player&8217;s condition, Keen assisted Walker off the field, handing the goalie&8217;s jersey to freshman Jacob Roeman and bringing Joel Coddington back in the game to fill the hole.

Roeman provided a solid showing in goal, stopping the few shot attempts he saw. He also managed a punt that beat the Gardendale defense and gave Cooke a breakaway opportunity to tie the game. Cooke was unable to convert the chance; one of eight missed looks the leading scorer had on the day.

The Tigers would manage several more looks at the goal, failing to challenge the Gardendale keeper on many of them. The final opportunity came with seven seconds to go when an Alan Brooker throw-in was headed toward the goal and caught by the Rocket goalie, who held the ball to end the game.