MANSFIELD – Brett Hames didn’t think much of his goal at the time. Turns out his shot just under 10 minutes into Midlothian’s game against Mansfield Timberview was the great decider.
Hames rattled off the unassisted score that gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 30:47 left in the half but it held up for the 1-0 win.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that big. I just figured we were going to keep putting them in after that,” Hames said. “But as the span of the game went on there was absolutely nothing. It makes me a lot more happy now than it did at that point of time in the game.”
Both team’s defenses and some chippy action had a lot to do with the lack of offensive production.
Midlothian and Timberview combined for eight yellow and one red card over the course of the match as constant pushing and shoving produced a myriad of whistles that slowed play down. The end result was a match that was both ugly and physical.?Originally slated as a night game at Midlothian, the game was moved to Vernon Newsom Stadium after the Wolves had lighting trouble on Feb. 18. With the two districts on spring break this week, the game was then moved from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. making for the earliest start time the Panthers (14-4-4, 8-1-4 have seen since tournament season ended back in January.
All those elements combined for a frustrating day that caused Midlothian coach Austin Guest plenty of headaches.
“Sometimes when you’re dealing with a weird game, on spring break, a morning game, something you’re not used to, you’re fighting a lot of demons that have nothing to do with the other team, just the situations that are involved,” Guest said. “We managed to fight those off so I’ll take the result and move on down the road.”
The second half started with Timberview getting away with a push in the back that went uncalled. Midlothian responded moments later by sending a Wolves’ player to the ground which was promptly called by the referees and carded.
That sequence brought Guest to his feet as the veteran coach barked out instructions to his team to grow up and stop retaliating. The Midlothian defense clamped down from there allowing Timberview to get few shots on goal the rest of the game while playing keep away.
The one-goal win for the Panthers marks the ninth time since district play started that the Panthers have been involved in a game that was decided by one or less goals. In that span, Midlothian is 5-0-4 while scoring no more than five goals in any district game this season.
Though the offense hasn’t showed as much firepower as years’ past, the defense has responded by holding every district opponent except Mansfield Legacy to one goal or less. Legacy scored three in a 3-0 win on Feb. 8, marking Midlothian’s only district loss to date.
“It was very important that we played well because we haven’t been scoring very well lately. We can’t win without not being able to concede goals,” senior John Schoonover said.