It was a close game from start to finish for both Frankfort and Spencer County boys soccer teams on Wednesday night.
Spencer County (4-5) came away with a 4-3 win, holding off a late Panther rally in the Frankfort High Invitational at Sower Soccer Field.
“With as many people we have out because of injuries and different situations, I thought the kids played really hard,” FHS head coach Sherrill Smith said. “I’m never going to fault their effort, because they did everything they could. They held tough, they didn’t give up.”
Senior forward Taylor Lile hobbled off the field with an ankle injury in the first half. Lile’s injury added to the three other players FHS was already playing without.
Spencer County’s Cody Coomes scored the first goal seven minutes into the game, after drawing Bailey Spade out of the net for Frankfort. Across the field, Spencer County’s goalkeeper, Logan Edelen was yellow carded for foul language and forced out of the game. Backup keeper Derek Clemens stepped in for him unexpectedly.
FHS (4-8) took advantage during his absence, sending senior forward James Murphy to the right of the goal and connecting the ball to the back left corner of the net with 27:12 on the clock. Freshman Russell Lile earned the assist.
Lile threw the ball in to Murphy, who repeated his scoring process only three minutes later, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game, 2-1.
Bradley Reynolds answered back for the Bears, tying the game 2-2 as Clemens returned to the sidelines and Edelen to the goal. With the safety of their starting goalkeeper back in the net, Spencer County’s offense went to work. Coomes scored two goals in the second half to give the Bears a 4-2 lead.
Late in the second half, Murphy added his third goal of the game and brought FHS back into the game. As the Panthers pulled within one score with minutes to go, Smith said, “we were fighting for the last goal in the last minute.”
Spencer County was able to hang on to win 4-3.
“It was just unfortunate we gave up a goal early to begin with,” Smith said of the Panthers’ late rally.
Smith credited his goalkeeper, Bailey Spade, who recorded 16 saves, with the reason the game was so close.
“Outstanding play from our goalkeeper,” Smith said. “He kept us in it.”
Next the Panthers face Gallatin County tonight at 6 p.m.
Spencer County plays Owen County at 8 p.m. for the championship of the Frankfort High Invitational.