JACKSON — For the first time this season, Jackson’s boys were truly tested by a physical South Webster team.
Having given up no goals so far, it remained to see how the Ironmen handled adversity once it arose.
Tuesday was adversity time, and the Jeeps had more control along with better ball possession as they handed the Ironmen a 2-1 loss.
“We didn’t play our best at all,” Jackson coach Lee Lord said. “It’s frustrating when you give up goals as early as we did. It showed that we weren’t ready to play. We seem to think that we can just turn it on anytime, and we did for about 10 minutes after South Webster scored. But after that, we revered back to the same lazy play we had in the first few minutes. Can’t have that against a good team like South Webster.”
It took little time for Jackson to begin feeling the pressure. Less than six minutes into the game, Gabe Ruth received the ball and outraced the Ironmen’s back line before connecting with the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
That served as Lord’s chance to see how his team responded to trailing for the first time this season, and they didn’t let him down.
With 20:25 left, Collin Ghearing took the corner kick and through the cluster of players in the box, the ball found the foot of Joe Crabtree and he sent a laser into the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.
However, despite going into halftime tied with the Jeeps, Lord was less than thrilled with how his team was playing.
“Flat out, we were lucky to be tied at the half,” Lord said. “We told the kids that if we didn’t stop up our play that we were going to be in trouble. We needed better performances in the last 40 minutes of the game, but we did a couple stupid things in the first five minutes and it got us.”
Ball possession was a major part of Jackson’s downfall, but it led to South Webster’s prosperity. Brice Robnett got the ball on the left side of the field. He took three dribbles towards the right side and blasted a shot for a goal that put the Jeeps ahead 2-1 with 35:41 left.
The Ironmen went into scramble mode, trying to get the equalizing goal but just couldn’t flip the switch again.
They had a few chances, but couldn’t possess the ball long enough to string passes together to pose a threat to the Jeeps down the stretch.
“We gave up a goal in four minutes and by the time we started playing with urgency, it was too late. It’s just frustrating knowing what this team should be and could be but you get good performances from only a handfuls of guys. I know they don’t like to lose, but we need to put a full 80 minutes together.”
Jackson’s week doesn’t get any easier as it travels to Alexander on Thursday, and at Circleville on Saturday in a district semifinal rematch from last year.
“This is a rough week, but if we don’t put out a better effort then we’re going to be 2-3 instead of potentially now 4-1,” Lord said. “But we’ll turn the page, get back to practice and move on from this one.”