“You hate to see the guys lose like that. They played so hard to get back to even, but it’s tough to win when you spot the opponent three goals.”
Chattanooga FC GM Sean McDaniel
Chattanooga, TN. - Chattanooga Football Club overcame a three goal deficit in the second half, only to give up the winning goal to the Georgia Revolution in a 4-3 thriller at Finley Stadium. The loss for Chattanooga FC (5-2-1) was only the second at Finley in the club’s three-year history and the first since June 5th, 2009.
Chattanooga FC got off to a sluggish start, giving up an early goal to Georgia in the 11th minute. The slow start did not improve after the first goal. In the 32nd minute, and errant clearance from defender Russell Courtney caught keeper Thomas Hunter off guard for a second Georgia goal.
The home side did not fair much better at the beginning of the second half. Just seven minutes into the half, Georgia sent a long through ball to their forward who outran all Chattanooga’s defender and put the ball in the net for a 3-0 lead.
“I’m not sure what was going on out there,” mentioned Chattanooga midfielder Phil Beene. “Maybe we had heavy legs from training the day before or just weren’t focused. Either way, we didn’t seem ready to play.”
In an effort to change the momentum of the game, Head Coach Brian Crossman brought in some fresh legs including forward Michael Brooks and midfielder Luke Winter. Just six minutes after Georgia’s third goal, Winter got the first goal for the home team off a beautiful volley on a corner kick from Alex Rodriguez.
In the 61st minute, another key substitution was made when speedy midfielder Tom Webster replaced Russell Courtney to give Chattanooga one more attacking player. Almost immediately the pace and tone of the game changed in favor of Chattanooga.
Webster’s aggressive attacking style of play created several scoring chances, which got the 2200 fans back into the game. Within minutes, Webster had hit the crossbar and had several slicing runs coming inches from his second goal of the season.
Chattanooga FC veteran Moises Drummond came into the match for Robbie Hill and made his presence known right away. Forward Chris Ochieng carried the ball down the left flank and hit a long cross to Drummond at the top of the box. Drummond calmly settled the ball and blasted the ball past a diving keeper into the top right corner of the net in the 72nd minute.
All the momentum was in Chattanooga’s favor, but the team was turned away time and again by the keeper, the crossbars and posts and errant shots. Finally, in the 79th minute, Ochieng found the back of the net for the tying goal off of another corner kick.
Chattanooga understood that a tie did not help their quest to clinch the NPSL Southeast Conference Championship, so the team kept pressing forward to get the final, game-winning goal. In the 84th minute, Georgia found the net on a perfectly executed counter attack that was completely against the flow of play.
“You hate to see the guys lose like that,” mentioned GM Sean McDaniel. “They played so hard to get back to even, but it’s tough to win when you spot the opponent three goals.”
Chattanooga FC’s hopes for a second-straight NPSL Final Four appearance are still alive. With a win next Saturday in Knoxville, Chattanooga will be crowned as Conference champions and will earn a spot in the NPSL Semifinals in Madison, Alabama at the end of July.
Chattanooga FC will return to Finley Stadium one more time this season on July 23rd to play DC United’s U23 team. Tickets for the match are $5 for ages 6-12 and $10 for 13 and over.