(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldog soccer team suffered their second, gut-wrenching loss in as many days on Wednesday night as the visiting Poplar Bluff Mules sent a penalty kick into the back of the net during overtime in a 3-2 defeat.
"You hardly ever see a soccer game end on a 'p.k.' in overtime, but every once in a while that happens," Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe said. "It's unfortunate when kids work real hard and it's ended on a referee making a decision call, but that's the way it is.
"You just learn from it and move on."
Going into the overtime tied at two goals apiece, a penalty within the goalie box gave Poplar Bluff (2-1) senior Dustin Calvert a chance to end it for his Mules. Calvert delivered on a kick to the right portion of the goal beating Sikeston keeper Josh Hampton for the game-winning score.
"He wanted the 'p.k.,' Poplar Bluff head coach Derek Reasons said about Calvert. "You can't ask anymore from a guy that steps up at the end of the game like that."
Sikeston (4-4) went up 1-0 just before the second half when senior Grant Hinton received a brilliant pass from Tyler Neal, who beat a few Poplar Bluff defenders in the midfield to do it. Hinton continued his trek towards the goal as he netted the 1-0 advantage for the Bulldogs.
"That was a great effort by Grant," said Noe about Sikeston's first goal. "He's been taking his lumps for four years and he's really stepped up and done well. I was proud of him to get that goal for us."
Sikeston held that lead for nearly 25 minutes until the Mules tied the match and then eventually take a 2-1 lead in a span of a minute and 35 seconds.
Calvert's first of two goals went in with 15:35 left in the second half. Soon after, Erik Grimaldo punched in a goal with just under 14 minutes left to play for a Poplar Bluff 2-1 lead.
"When you have a team like that down, you have to stay on top of them," Noe said about Poplar Bluff's two goals "We had a few let downs. A couple of guys were kind of being lazy in what they were supposed to do and good teams are going to make you pay for that. And that's what they did.
"The real mistake for us tonight was us just being lazy and letting them back in the game."
Luckily for the Bulldogs, they had a chance to win it in overtime because of a goal by Neal with 8:34 left in regulation. Neal, like during his assist to Hinton, was able to beat Poplar Bluff defenders and found a bouncing ball 25 yards from the goal in which he hammered towards the right corner of the net for a 2-2 tie.
"That was a lot of effort on Tyler's part," Noe said. "That's a heck of a play at this level. He played hard tonight. He left the field with nothing left and that's what you want and what you expect out of your players."
"I do like the heart," Noe added. "We fought back and tied the game and battled with them."
Calvert's overtime goal came six and a half minutes into the first overtime.
"You take away positives," Noe said about their second overtime loss this week. "But, you can't let your team down and you can't let up for a second. We took some plays off and (Poplar Bluff) put it on us quick."