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WSOC: Taylor's Chip Downs Davidson 1-0 in 2OT
WSOC: Taylor's Chip Downs Davidson 1-0 in 2OT
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile WSOC: Taylor's Chip Downs Davidson 1-0 in 2OT

It took 16 shots, 12 corner kicks, and nearly 106 minutes of soccer, but Dayton outlasted Davidson 1-0 in 2OT thanks to Marlee Taylor's chip over the goalkeeper in the final minutes of extra time. The win is UD's second in a row and improves the record to 5-4-2 (2-1-0). The Wildcats fall to 4-6-1 (0-3-0).

Clear skies and mild temperatures made for perfect playing conditions on Sunday afternoon as sun-drenched Baujan Field played host to the early fall matchup of two teams still trying to find their stride.

As kickoff got underway, the Flyers were hoping to rediscover their goal-scoring prowess that's been on holiday over the last three weeks. Thursday's 3-0 win over LaSalle was a good place to start, but it remained to be seen if UD could build on that result.

The opening minutes were mostly back-and-forth as neither side found much rhythm or control in the match. Davidson pressed forward when they could to put pressure on the Flyer back line and as the match wore on, the first 10-15 minutes would ultimately be the Wildcats' best form of the afternoon. The visitors did just enough to link a handful of passes and earn a few whistles in their offensive half of the field to knock long balls into the mixer. Thankfully, UD defended well and cleared everything away, preventing Davidson from putting shots on frame.

While the back line was holding their own, the UD offense still sputtered and had trouble finding any cohesiveness in the final attacking zone. It wasn't for a lack of opportunities however. The Flyers pushed forward and had a handful of decent build-ups that looked promising, but errant touches or long-ball service lacking targets and purpose put a stop to most of those chances. In too many instances, the Flyers made it too easy to defend their attacking strategy.

As the first half continued, Dayton asserted more control of possession and at times seemed to be knocking on the door for a potential goal. Like past matches however where goals were absent, a lack of anger inside the box made it routine cleanup for Davidson's defense to clear dangerous balls away. Inside the final 25yds, the ball was a step slow, players were a step late, or it was often a combination of the two. Frustrating for sure because quality scoring opportunities were there to capitalize on -- at least one of them anyway. Few dangerous shots on goal however kept the match scoreless heading into intermission.

Halftime stats favored UD 4-1 in shots and 4-1 in corner kicks.

The second 45 minutes showcased better form by Dayton and it wasn't long before they owned almost 70% of the possession. The Flyers did well to push the ball forward with several options to choose from as they encroached upon the Davidson goal box, but that's when the connectivity once again struggled to stay in lock-step. Dayton appeared one or two passes away from walking it in on goal, or one quality aerial challenge from finishing a cross in the box. As the second half continued however, the Wildcats were doing everything required to maintain a scoreless match with hopes of stealing a result on the road with one random offensive strike or Flyer miscue.

Over the last 20 minutes of regulation, things felt like deja vu all over again as UD dominated the stat lines but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. The Flyers were just one bad touch away from losing to an opponent that had no business being within arm's length.

Dayton earned six corner kicks in the second half and tried just about everything to score on one -- from conventional service in the box to playing it short to feeding it to the nearest corner of the box for a teammate to direct better-angled service. Nothing helped and most of those opportunities didn't even force the Davidson goalkeeper to make a big save.

After 90 minutes the match was still scoreless. The Dayton defense didn't surrender a single shot or corner kick in the second half, underscoring the lopsided run of play. If UD wanted a victory, they'd have to grind it out the hard way in extra time.

The first overtime didn't produce much in the way of fireworks. Both sides created a couple half-chances but most of the 10-minute period consisted of the ball trading ends of the field. UD managed two more corner kicks but could not capitalize.

It was now or never as the second overtime started. The match would end only one of two ways: extreme disappointment in a draw or loss after hog-tying Davidson for 110 minutes, or exuberance from hitting paydirt in golden-goal fashion after nearly letting the Wildcats off the hook.

For the latter to happen, someone had to step up and make a play of individual skill at the right place and time. Marlee Taylor obliged in the 106th minute after taking service in the box from Sheldon and chipping the charging Wildcat goalkeeper for the open-net game-winner. Great feed, great touch. It was doubly-satisfying as Sheldon spent much of the afternoon dumping balls in the box and was finally rewarded with a helper.

Match stats were all Dayton as shots were 16-1 (8-1) and corner kicks were 12-1. It was a result the Flyers desperately needed and might be the shot in the arm they need to gain some confidence on the road next week in A10 play. It's been a season of missed opportunities as three or four victories were out there for the taking but slipped through the Flyer fingertips as what-could-have-beens. On Sunday afternoon however, UD exacted some revenge and pocketed a result they overwhelmingly deserved. Scoring goals will remain a focal point moving forward and the Flyers need to be much better in that department than they were on Sunday. Sometimes goals come in bunches and so too the droughts. Finding the back of the net is largely a confidence proposition -- that along with some bulldozer-style headhunting inside the box. Surrendering just one goal in the last three matches, the Flyer back line continues to give the mids and strikers all the rope they need. Two A10 victories in a row is not a ton of momentum, but it's something. UD takes on SJU in Philadelphia on Thursday night to see if they can turn it into something more.

C. M. Rieman | Publisher | 937.361.4630 | Get the latest here:

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