Clinton hosted Pender for a Four County Conference soccer match on Wednesday evening to start the second half of the conference season. The Dark Horses used a fast paced offensive attack to get seven goals from six different players in a match that saw every player on the Clinton team get significant playing time. In the end Clinton came away with a 7-0 win, outshooting the Patriots nearly 3-to-1 and playing stifling team defense to come away with the shutout win.
Ivan Palencia got the Clinton scoring started when he popped a looping shot into the goal at the 4:27 mark to give the Horses a 1-0 lead. Pender stopped several scoring attempts before the Dark Horses struck again at the 15:56 when Skylar Cannady took a long pass over the top of the Pender defense and slipped a shot past the diving goalie to give Clinton a 2-0 edge.
Logan Spell scored the next two Clinton goals, the first coming at 21:51 when he stole the ball deep in Pender territory and quickly fired the ball into the goal. Spell’s second goal came less than three minutes later when Luke Byrd hit him with a great pass as Spell streaked toward the goal. Spell took the pass nearly in stride and fired the ball into the back of the nets giving Clinton a commanding 4-0 lead. The Patriot goal keeper turned back several close range shots in the final 15 minutes of the first half to keep the score at 4-0 going to the halftime break.
The Dark Horses opened the second half on the attack, and added to the lead when Zack Darden headed in a corner kick from Parker Norris to increase the Clinton lead to 5-0 at the 50:25 mark. It took Clinton less than 30 seconds to strike again when Ivan Ponce scored on a break away at 50:54 increasing the Horses’ lead to 6-0.
The Dark Horses got their final goal of the night in a very unusual way. Reserve goalie Ivan Zelaya came out of goal to handle a free kick from about 60 yards out. The goalie hit the ball perfectly, arching it over the outstretched arm of the Pender keeper and just under the cross bar at the 63:30 mark. The long score sent the Clinton bench into a frenzy and the players on the field mobbed their goal keeper after his first varsity goal. The long shot lifted Clinton to their final margin of victory at 7-0.
After the game Clinton head coach Brad Spell talked about his team’s win saying, “this is another good conference win. The biggest thing tonight was getting to see so many guys get in the game.”
“We played everyone tonight and as a coach it is great to see the guys that don’t play a lot get in the game and play a lot of minutes,” Spell continued. “We didn’t have a letdown after the Wallace-Rose Hill game on Monday, we moved the ball well and played good team defense. Pender is a dangerous soccer team. They have some weapons up top and we were able to shut them down tonight with a good team effort.”
The win improves Clinton’s record to 13-1-1 overall and 8-0 in conference play. The Dark Horses will host East Bladen on Monday with the JV taking the field at 4:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match at 6:30 p.m.