ELYRIA— If points were awarded for time of possession, near misses and beautiful passes, Open Door would have blown a fuse on the scoreboard Monday at First Baptist.
However, since you can only score by actually putting the ball in the back of the net, the Patriots were fortunate to escape with a 1-0 win in a non-league battle of the city’s two Christian schools.
Sophomore Mark Woodson scored the only goal in the 36th minute on a play that started with a Solomon Dutton free kick from a position just outside of the penalty box.
Dutton played the ball to the face of the net where it glanced off the head of Miki Dutton and onto the right foot of Woodson, who drove it past Sabres goalkeeper Chad Parker for his fifth goal of the year.
Open Door (5-7-3) left the field at halftime after taking nine shots on goal, earning eight corner kicks and maintaining possession in its offensive third of the field for most of the half but with just the one goal to show for its efforts.
“It was really frustrating for us,” said Solomon Dutton, who almost scored twice in the second half, bouncing a shot off the goal post in the 63rd minute and hitting the cross bar with a free kick seven minutes later. “It really felt like we should have had about four goals. This isn’t the only game that had been like this. We’ve struggled with finishing all season.”
First Baptist coach Steve Williams gave the credit to Parker, his junior goalkeeper, for frustrating the opponents and keeping the Sabres (8-4-1) in the game.
“Chad is an athlete,” Williams said. “He a great basketball player but he wasn’t a soccer player until we started the program up last season. He learned to play goalkeeper and has gotten progressively better. Chad made some really good reaction saves. This is one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”
Parker finished with 15 saves.
Patriots goalkeeper Josh Thomas made some nice saves of his own to preserve the shutout in the second half after First Baptist started to find its offensive rhythm. On two occasions, First Baptist forward Jacob Baker had shots from within the 6-yard box. Each time Thomas, a freshman, put himself in the perfect position to make the save.
“We need to talk more and come into every game with the proper attitude, not expecting that any game is ever going to be an easy win,” Woodson said. “First Baptist proved to be a really good team so we’re happy that we’re able to walk away from here with a win.”
Open Door has one more regular-season match, Saturday against Keystone, before it opens Division III sectional play a week from today against Cleveland Martin Luther King.
“We weren’t very sharp but give First Baptist credit,” Patriots coach Michael Perris said. “They played a good game and we’re fortunate to come away with a win today. We’re going to take a couple of days off now to rest up and heal up. I like where we are right now as a team. We just have to keep working on ball movement and getting the ball up the sides of the field and keeping it out of the middle.”
The Sabres won’t have any time to dwell on the loss. They’re back in action today, hosting Grand River Academy in the first round of the Lake Effect Conference tournament.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Open Door 1, First Baptist 0
Goal: (OD) Woodson
Assist: (OD) Solomon Dutton
Saves: (OD) Thomas 12; (FB) Parker 15
Shots on goal: Open Door 16, First Baptist 12
Corner Kicks: Open Door 12, First Baptist 5
Fouls: Open Door 5, First Baptist 4
Offsides: Open Door 2
Halftime: Open Door 1-0