Thursday night’s game began with both Chelsea and Dexter going back and forth, playing safe and not taking too many high-risk chances. Each team had a couple opportunities early on, but were unable to convert.
Then Chelsea drew an indirect kick outside the Dreadnaught penalty box around the 35-minute mark and took the lead with a goal by Ben Valek. Nick Brodbeck tapped the ball to Valek, who just struck it low, and as hard as he could. The ball deflected off a player or two and found its way into the back of the net.
But, less than a minute later, Dexter had the ball in Chelsea’s penalty box, and Dreadnaught’s maintained possession as Chelsea frantically defended. Dexter was able to poke the ball through to an open player, who had the easy finish from 8-yards out to tie the game.
In the second half, both teams played with a ton of energy and created 3 or 4 good scoring opportunities each. As exciting as it was to see them both go back and forth, neither team could score.
Chelsea fans thought the Bulldogs’ scored with about 12 minutes left to play when Ryan Hilbertcame into a 50/50 challenge, but he was just a hair late as he poked the ball free from the keeper’s hands and scored the goal.
Although a judgment call, I felt the official made the right call — Hilbert (a.k.a “Pickels”) came in just a fraction of a second late. When the goalkeeper had the ball in his hands, it is considered a possession and no one can knock it out of his hands.
As time wore down, both teams rallied back and forth in extremely exciting fashion but the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Dexter finished with 6 shots on goal while Chelsea tallied 5.
The game was a lot of fun. In this “derby match” as we like to call it in soccer, both teams were hungry and came ready to play.
We had great support from our usual cast of fans, family and friends, however, last night we also had a whole student section supporting us on the sidelines. The students’ support was fantastic.
They really helped create a great environment and played as a 12th man for us. It was a lot of fun to see everyone out there supporting their classmates and friends last night.
Dexter is a very strong team that is well lead by Head Coach Scott Forrester. He has built a strong program and has had lots of success, including a couple of state titles and several SEC and District titles.
The Chelsea senior boys have dedicated themselves to building the Bulldog Soccer scene and programs and know that if, and hopefully when, they beat Dexter on a more consistent basis, they will have every opportunity, like the Dreads, to do damage in the state tournament.
Both teams have a lot of friends on each side — Chelsea has more and more players playing in the Dexter Soccer Club at the high school level these days so they all know each other well and are good friends. It’s a really healthy relationship between the two sides.The boys have a lot of respect for one another and enjoy playing each other for those ‘bragging rights’ during their club season.
Of course, when it comes to the Chelsea vs. Dexter Soccer game during the high school season, those friendships are put aside for 80 minutes while each team battles hard for the result.
Both teams were playing for the SEC White Title and for the pride of their schools and programs. It was Chelsea’s Senior Night, honoring the nine seniors who have helped build this program into one that’s very competitive.
Next up for both sides:
Dexter Travels to Adrian on Monday for first round of the Districts v. the Adrian Maples at 5 p.m.
Chelsea travels to Milan on Monday for a first round v. the Milan Big Reds at 5 p.m.
The winning teams advance to next round, which will be played in Tecumseh on Wednesday. The district finals are on Saturday in Tecumseh at 1 p.m.