Missed opportunities in the second half plagued the Neosho Wildcats as they fell to Ozark 3-1 in a Central Ozark Conference Large Division soccer match at Lions Field.
Neosho opened the scoring with 21 minutes remaining in the first half when Angel Garcia got a loose ball, broke free into the box and blasted it past the diving Ozark goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
The score would remain that way until the Tigers tied it 1-1 on a header with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. It would remain knotted by that score at the intermission.
“We tried to make some adjustments at half and we just didn’t make them,” Wildcats coach Steve Schnackenberg said. “The first half we played a lot better as a team and we moved the ball around a little bit. We tried to do that a little better in the second half and we didn’t.”
The Wildcats, who hit the crossbar near the end of the first half, would see their luck continue to wane in the second half as they hit the crossbar two more times. The Tigers, meanwhile, were more fortunate. A pair of second half goals coming with 29 and 12 minutes left in the game, respectively, put it away for Ozark.
“We had plenty of chances,” Schnackenberg said. “When we were doing things we wanted to do, we got chances. Their goalie had some nice saves and we hit the crossbar three or four times, so the chances were there. We created those when we were playing as a team.”
Wildcats keeper Paul Sanders kept the Wildcats in the contest with several nice saves. The Tigers were in attack mode most of the evening and Sanders, for the most part, kept them at bay.
“He does that every game,” Schnackenberg said. “He comes up with some nice saves. We’ve got players on the field making great plays, and he does a nice job back there keeping his calm and making some great plays for us. He kept it close there for a while for us.”