By DEREK COLEMAN
The Putnam Herald
WINFIELD - This week's girl's soccer game features two of our county teams as the Lady Redskins of Hurricane High visited the Winfield Lady Generals on a warm Saturday evening.
This was listed as a local rivalry game between two teams that are having good seasons, with Winfield only losing one of their ten previous games and Hurricane winning all nine of theirs.
The home team kicked off and immediately began to pressure the Redskins. Number 3 for the Generals, Riley Hinkle, showed her speed and ball control, running up the wing, beating tackles and putting crosses but without finding any team mates who could finish the move.
For the first ten minutes, Winfield continued to press with Hurricane only mounting the occasional counter attack. Bailey Fisher, the Redskins' No. 8, made several attempts to take the game forward, but each time she got the ball she attracted the attention of several Winfield players and the home goal wasn't threatened.
In the ninth minute the Generals forced a corner - the first of three in the space of five minutes, none of which forced the Redskins keeper to make a save. The Generals continued to press while Hurricane relied on long balls out of defense to mount their counters. For the next few minutes, most of the game was played in the Hurricane half of the field with both teams playing hard to win the ball.
On the right wing, the Generals' Nos. 6 and 14 were working together well and, in the 21st minute, they combined to win a contentious free kick close to the left corner of the Hurricane penalty area.
Several of the decisions made by the referee up to this point had drawn loud protests from the spectators, and this was no exception. The kick was given to the Generals and was taken by Kelly Jordan, who actually touched the ball twice, which is a clear infraction, before Riley Hinkle lifted it over the Redskins wall to be safely collected by the Hurricane goalkeeper.
Winfield continued to win the ball in midfield and mounted a stream of attacks, with Hannah Jones shooting over the bar from a free kick and other attempts going wide.
In the 30th minute, Bailey Fisher won the ball in midfield, shook off two Winfield defenders, ran and shot only to see the attempt blocked. Two minutes later, she tried again. This time the Generals keeper made an easy save and Fisher's third attempt went narrowly wide.
Winfield were once more on the attack and were awarded a free kick halfway into the left side of the Hurricane half. Hannah Jones took the kick, but it went straight to the Redskin's keeper and the half ended with no score.
Winfield had enjoyed most of the possession in the first half and they kicked off the second. They played the ball forward, but Fisher intercepted and Hurricane moved into the attack, playing the ball out from the back instead of the long ball tactics they'd used in the first half.
The new approach seemed to work and as early as the second minute of the half, Danielle Ray fired a shot that just skimmed the General's bar. A minute later, Ray again ran into the home penalty area, fed the ball to Lauren Dye and she, too, put it over the top over the goal.
Over the next five minutes, the Redskins continued to press with both Dye and Fisher each having two shots on goal that missed. In the sixth minute, their persistence won a corner on the right. The ball came over into a crowded penalty area and bounced from player to player until Bailey Fisher fired an unstoppable shot from the center of the area to the right side of the goal. Winfield 0 Hurricane 1.
Winfield now stepped up their pressure, winning a free kick just outside the Hurricane area that went straight to the visitor's keeper, closely followed by another that went wide.
The Redskins were also enjoying more of the ball, forcing two corners in quick succession in the 12th minute, neither of which tested the home keeper.
For the Generals, Hannah Jones tried a shot on goal in the 13th minute that was easily saved and No. 14, Kiersten Dodd, was tormenting the Hurricane defense on their right side by running at them and sending over crosses toward goal.
The game was end-to-end by this stage with ball possession very much even. No. 4 for Hurricane, Mady Jo Lunsford, on the left and No. 12, Madison Francis, on the right were creating problems for the home team while Jones and Dodd combined to threaten the Redskins' goal.
Bailey Fisher continued to drive forward from midfield, having several shots on target that failed to find the net. She was clearly fouled in midfield in the 34th minute, but again the offence wasn't called, much to the disgust of those watching.
The game ended with Hurricane again on the offensive but unable to increase their lead. Both teams played hard, Winfield were strongest in the first half but the visitors defended well and the Generals only managed brief spells of ascendancy in the second.
Hannah Jones and Kersten Dodd were the outstanding players for the home team while Bailey Fisher, Mady jo Lunsford, Lauren Dye and Dani Ray caught the eye for the Redskins.