WATSON – After an entertaining start to the match, Live Oak used a world-class goal from Darshandee Singh to pull ahead of parish foe Walker 4-0 with the help of three late goals.
The first 20 minutes were evenly matched in a strength against strength matchup.
Walker was able to force shots early by playing the long ball and allowing its superior speed up top to possess the ball in front of the goal.
Live Oak managed to skirt around a goal with calm and calculated defending and were able to roll into a counter-attack with ease.
“We saw that they had a limited number of ways to hurt us,” Live Oak coach Zach Miller said. “Once we felt comfortable being able to defend it, I think we gained confidence. We didn’t do well enough because they gave us some shaky moments back there, but we made it a mission to come out and be physical in this game.”
After both teams missed golden scoring chances early, Live Oak took the lead in the 29th minute when Singh pulled back from 30 yards out and let loose a screamer into the top corner of the net.
“I was open wide, and I called for the ball,” Singh said. “I took a touch in space and took the chance. I was surprised it went straight upper 90, into the top bin. It took me a few seconds (to realize it was a goal), I didn’t know what was happening.”
Said Miller, “It was a fantastic shot. He really hit that ball well.”
Live Oak secured the victory in the 69th minute when Plaisance made a quick cut into the box, working himself free at close range. His first shot was blocked by not fully secured by Walker’s goalkeeper and Plaisance was able to get to the loose ball and walk it across the line.
Jackson Earle added a pair of goals three minutes apart in the 74th and 77th minute to increase Live Oak’s lead to 4-0.
Live Oak outshot Walker 10 to five. Eight of the Eagles’ shots landed on goal and took five corners and six free kicks while the Wildcats had two on target.
Walker took four corners and two free kicks.
The two goals from Earle were the byproduct of the offense Miller tried to install during the match, goals that he would ideally like to see earlier in the match.
“I said, ‘we’ve got to open it up in the second half,” Miller said. “It took until the end of the second half to start moving the ball like that. It’s just not consistent enough yet.”
Walker looked strong early, but as the match wore on Live Oak’s depth started to take its toll.
Coach Todd Wall credited Singh’s goal as the most influential moment of the match, one that effectively took the Wildcats out
of their groove.
“For our team this year, we are so young that it takes us getting that goal to get our heads up,” Wall said. “Once they get a goal scored against them it’s hard for us to find it in ourselves to come back after that. We have to figure out a way to overcome that. And we will.”
It was the kind of result Live Oak was looking for following a difficult start to the season.
“They look better,” Miller said. “Their heads are in a better place.
Singh said, “We want to create aggressiveness and have good passing. It’s both physical and mental. We’re working on it, we’re starting to do well.”