(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- No game may sum up the Sikeston Bulldog soccer season more than Saturday's match-up with West Plains.
For 79 minutes the Bulldogs played even with the state-ranked Zizzers, only to lose on an unfortunate goal with less than a minute to play, 2-1.
"There are a lot of these this year," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "We've had a lot of one goal games where we lose in the last four, five minutes. It's tough and it's starting to wear on us a little bit."
Sikeston was ready from the get-go against West Plains, ranked sixth in Class 2. Playing a defensive game, the Bulldogs utilized five defenders making it tougher for the Zizzers to get an open look at the goal. When they did, Sikeston goalie Scott Droddy was there.
"He's just a workhorse back there. He's been doing it for four years. Every day I know he comes to play. I know that we always have a chance to win if we've got him back there in goal because he can knock shots away all night long."
Droddy and the Sikeston defense held West Plains scoreless for most of the first half until bad luck came into play for the Bulldogs. With 6:51 remaining in the first half, the Zizzers took a shot that a leaping-Droddy saved. However, Droddy's momentum was causing him to fall into the goal, which would have given a goal to West Plains. In desperation, Droddy threw the ball into the field of play. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs the ball went to a wide open Josh Sims of West Plains who kicked the ball into the net, giving the Zizzers a 1-0 halftime lead.
Sikeston fought back in the second half and tied the game with 30:48 remaining when Justin Deere kicked the ball past the West Plains goalie on an assist from Robert Brooks.
"I like the effort from the guys tonight, especially coming back in the second half and getting that equalizer goal was nice," Long said. "We kept them at bay for most of the night with good defense and good goalkeeping, but I would still like to have a few more chances up top."
Sikeston was able to hold off West Plains until the last minute when the Bulldogs were struck by bad luck again. Once again, Droddy knocked away a Zizzer shot but the Bulldog defense was unable to clear the ball leaving a wide open shot for West Plains' Brandon Wood, who put it in the back of the net for the win.
West Plains outshot the Bulldogs 17-9 on the afternoon.
"Against most of the teams we play they've been outshooting us on goal and having more opportunities to score and we just can't get that going this year for some reason," Long said. "We're hoping to work on that the next few days. We've got three more games next week, all away games that are going to be tough. But we'll keep on fighting and hopefully it will work out."
Sikeston (6-13) will look to rebound today when they travel to play the Fredericktown Blackcats. The junior varsity contest will begin at 5 p.m.