Wednesday’s season-opening soccer tilt between Fort Osage and Blue Springs South was more entertaining than South coach Jon Grice said he would’ve preferred.
Fortunately for him, the last bits of excitement in a back-and-forth contest went in the Jaguars’ favor, as Sam Derksen booted in the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute and South withstood Fort Osage’s last attack for a 3-2 win at Stewart Memorial Stadium.
Sam Leech and Kyle Findley also scored for the Jaguars, while Clayton Anderson made eight saves to earn the win in goal.
“We’ve worked so hard conditioning in the summer,” said Findley, whose goal in the 51st minute came after Fort Osage missed a clearing attempt and gave South a brief 2-1 lead. “It’s great to see everybody to put it together. Great start.”
Fort Osage re-tied things in the 56th minute when Richmond Forbis raced to collect a free kick near the baseline, deked past a defender and sent a rocket past Anderson.
It was the second unassisted goal for Forbis, as the Indians’ midfield dynamo grounded in a 15-yarder in the 46th minute after dribbling 20 yards through the Jaguar defense.
Those goals not withstanding, Grice said his team defended well against Fort Osage, which got off 19 shots and earned six corner kicks.
“Our backs did a real good job, especially in the first half,” Grice said. “I think it took them a while – Fort Osage, that is – to find gaps in the defense to get the ball to Forbis.
“He’s so dangerous,” he said of Forbis. “I would wager he’s best player in the city, maybe the state, when he’s facing the goal.”
Derksen’s winning goal came on a one-timer from about 15 yards out after Jacob Gowan headed a ball into the penalty box.
“(Derksen) handled it nicely,” Grice said. “He did a nice job putting it away.”
In all, South got off 14 shots and four corners, its first goal coming in the 16th minute when Ryan Poertner’s long, somersaulted throw-in flew perfectly to the goal mouth, where amongst a crowd the ball found Leech’s foot for a tap-in.
Matt Summey made seven saves in goal for Fort Osage. The Indians’ last good chance came in the 77th, when Forbis flew along the right wing and centered to an unmarked Pier Cassiraghi, whose shot sailed high.
“It’s disappointing to lose, but we’re right there,” Fort Osage coach Andrew Fletcher said. “We’ll be in any game we play. On each of South’s first two goals, Fletcher said his players needed to attack more in defense.
“It’s an easy fix, but if the ball bounces a different way, the ball gets cleared,” he said.
“I’m disappointed because we need to start winning games like this with the goals we score. But I’m not disappointed in the effort, nor the performance.”
South’s junior varsity was an 8-0 winner.