Tallahassee Soccer Club welcomed the New Orleans Jesters last Thursday for a highly anticipated matchup between the two of the top clubs in the conference at Gene Cox Stadium. Historically, the Jesters boast an impressive resume, having appeared in five of the last seven NPSL conference championships. The visitors were coming off a confidence building 2-1 win over the Jacksonville Armada U-23. TLHSC were also coming off a historic 1-0 win over Southern States.
Both clubs came out looking to attack in front of the 500+ crowd. Bilal Mihoubi, Gaku Nishimura, and Stafford Dowling led the offensive charge for the Battle Lions in the early stages. Conner Parry and Kevyn Lo worked the midfield to create opportunities to score. Unfortunately for Tallahassee, Jesters keeper Alex Hare did well to keep the Battle Lions out of the goal. He saved a shot by Mihoubi, and two headers from Dowling and company.
On the other side, Mark Lesher and Trice Smith teamed up to contain the Jesters' Sheldon Green. Green had scored in all three of NOLA’s wins, but the Tallahassee defense made sure to lock him up through the first half with the score 0-0 at the break.
The Tallahassee offense went back to work in the second half with Nishimura involving himself more as the focal point of the offense. The back and forth nature of the match continued until the 60th minute when Alex Blanche earned a second yellow card and was sent off. Now a man up, TLHSC renewed the attack, but were unable to break through. The Jesters were able to create some chances but Marc Kouadio kept the visitors from scoring.
There were additional chances for both clubs including a Zuri Robertson rocket shot from 20 yards out in the 70th minute. Ultimately, New Orleans managed to stave off the Battle Lions efforts despite being a man down for 40 minutes. The draw kept both clubs near the top of the table. Tallahassee begins a three-match road trip this Saturday against Southern States at 8:30 PM as they look to extend their undefeated season.
To the Goal!