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To say neither Tabb nor Warhill had open looks Friday night would be disingenuous.
By the time the final whistle blew, the scoreboard reading 0-0 after two overtime periods, both teams shared a mix of frustration and relief at the final scoreline.
“It’s a little bit of both,” Tabb Coach Scott Kuhnle joked after the game. “As many times as we had our breakaways, it’s just kind of like ‘Can we get it in once?’ It’s kind of frustrating, but at the same time you’re glad you didn’t walk away with a loss.”
Tabb controlled the pace of play in the first half, finding three breakaway opportunities that led to one-on-one scoring chances against Warhill goalkeeper Eric Ahrendt.
With just over 29 minutes to play in the first half, Tabb’s Hunter Winslow broke free from the defense, but put his shot attempt wide right of the net.
Six minutes later, Winslow again found himself in a one-on-one with Ahrendt, who was forced to make a save on Winslow’s second attempt. The shot sailed directly into the chest of Ahrendt, ending the threat.
With 11 minutes left in the first half, Tabb’s Allen Blair also found himself alone against Ahrendt, though his attempt ended up going directly at the embattled keeper.
Warhill countered Tabb’s scoring chance with one of its own as Jared Ford put a left-footed attempt on net just over two minutes later. The shot was turned away by Tabb goalie Grant Kelchner.
The Tigers had one more scoring opportunity before halftime as Derek Cook placed a free kick from about 20 yards out below the Warhill wall, forcing Ahrendt to make a diving save to his left.
After entering halftime scoreless, Warhill came out firing in the second half.
With 26 minutes left in regulation, Ford delivered a beautiful ball on net from 15 yards out, but his shot sailed just over the crossbar.
One of the best scoring chances of the game came less than two minutes later as Warhill’s Brennen Whaley found himself alone with a wide-open net and Kelchner out of position.
Coming down the right side of the pitch, Whaley sent the ball sailing wide-left of the net. The miss prompted Whaley to fall on the field in disbelief, where he remained for about 20 seconds.
Warhill again had a golden scoring opportunity when a penalty kick was awarded to Ford with 13:50 left in the game. Ford stepped to the penalty spot and struck the ball well to the lower-right corner of the net.
Refusing to give up the game’s opening goal, Kelchner sprawled to his left and got a hand on the shot, turning it away. Two close-range attempts ensued after the initial block, but neither crossed the goal line.
“The ball was hit well and the keeper just picked the right corner, dove and made the save,” Kuhnle said. “I thought our keeper was player of the match today.”
Both teams still scoreless, the game headed into overtime where Warhill and Tabb had chances to take the lead.
In the second overtime, Ford had another open look within the box, but Kelchner came out of the net and pushed the ball away with a diving effort.
Less than a minute later, Blair found himself running free up the left side of the field. Blair ripped a left-footed shot on net from 15 yards out, but his shot sailed about a foot to the left of the post.
Exhausted from battle, both teams embraced each other at midfield after the final whistle blew, the game ending without a goal.
“We just can’t get the ball in the net, it’s amazing,” Warhill Coach Jimmy Newell said after the game. “There’s just nothing you can do. You can’t coach that. It’s been happening for the past two or three games. I think they’re just trying too hard. The harder you try, the worse it gets”
Despite the frustration from both coaches about being unable to find the back of the net, both said they were pleased with the result, praising their opponent.
Tabb will continue its season Tuesday when the Tigers host Bruton, while Warhill will host Grafton on Tuesday.
Tabb 0, Warhill 0