McKelvey’s Golden Goal Lifts UK Soccer to 1-0 Win Over ETSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Andrew McKelvey’s scrappy golden goal in the 108th minute lifted Kentucky past a red hot East Tennessee State University side on Tuesday at The Bell.
McKelvey broke the deadlock to decide an enthralling – if physical – midweek showdown between two sides who have built lofty expectations for themselves early in the 2016 season as each boasts quality wins from the late summer portion of the season.
Kentucky ended a two-match losing streak, improving to won 4, lost 2 drew 1 (0-1-1 Conference USA). ETSU dropped to 4-3-0 (no Southern Conference matches yet).
J.J. Williams’s hard work paid off seven minutes into the second extra time period when his high press produced a turnover inside the ETSU box. He dribbled to the by line and cut the ball back toward an onrushing McKelvey who narrowly beat his defender to clatter the ball across the line into an open goal getting Kentucky off the schneid.
“It’s just a good hustle play by J.J.,” McKelvey said. “We worked on repressing all week and he was able to jump on their right back, win the ball and then he just took it forward and knew what to do. He played it in and I worked hard to get in the box and find the goal.”
“It was a tough game to play,” Napo Matsoso said. “We’ve been pushing ourselves. (Kentucky Head Coach) Johan (Cedergren) pushed us – the captains – to be leaders. It was a good win for the team. Everyone battled. We wanted this game to get back the momentum we had. The result came our way and it’s all about moving on to the next one.”
In a competitive match Kentucky arguably had the better chances, especially as the match progressed.
The closest call ocurred moments before the conclusion of the regulation 90. Charlie Reymann broke free at the back post to volley a Connor Probert in-swinging free kick taken from the outside the left corner of the box. ETSU goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland produced a stunning point-blank save to keep the match scoreless and send the game to overtime.
Kentucky improved to 3-0-1 at The Bell in 2016. The match was the first of a four-match home stand.
McKelvey scored his second goal in as many matches, and the fifth of his career. He’s now a goal away from matching his output from a year ago.
Williams tallied the first assist of his career.
Stuart Ford and the Kentucky defense kept their fourth clean sheet of the year. Ford has a goals-against average of 0.54, this season.
Kentucky entered the season with a strong defensive identity that had been battered ever so slightly in recent matches when it came to defending set pieces.
The Wildcats had yet to conceded from the run of play, yet had allowed goals four times this year off stoppages in play. The Wildcats did boast a 2-1 goals to allowed ration having scored eight times in six previous matches.
ETSU entered Wednesday red hot having won two in a row including a 1-0 upset at then-top-ranked North Carolina last Tuesday, and four of its last five.
Kentucky was playing at The Bell for the first time since winning 1-0 v Louisville on Sept. 6. The Wildcats entered 2-0-1 at home this season. ETSU entered 1-2-0 away from Johnson City, Tennessee.
Kentucky and ETSU have were meeting for the fifth year in a row. Each team had won twice in the series. Kentucky had won both meetings in Lexington, and ETSU had won both meetings in Johnson City.
Cedergren made one change from the side that started the 2-1 loss at FIU at the weekend. Noah Hutchins – the scorer of match-winning goals v Duquesne and Louisville – made his first start of the year on the wing, while Kevin Barajas dropped to the bench and Hampus Agerström moved from the No. 10 role into a holding midfield place.
The next one
Kentucky will host C-USA power New Mexico Sunday at 7 p.m. The first 250 fans at The Bell will receive a match poster, and fans can also pick up UK Soccer thunderstix.
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