Republic controlled possession and created plenty of scoring opportunities, but failed to finish them in a 2-1 loss at Neosho Tuesday. The Tigers made two defensive mistakes all night, according to coach Kevin Hauck, and Neosho made the Tigers pay for both of them.
The first Neosho goal came about 15 minutes into the game when the Wildcats split the Republic defense for a breakaway one-on-one with Tigers goalkeeper Drake Lightfoot. That made the score 1-0.
Later in the half, Neosho went up 2-0 after an inadvertent handball gave the Wildcats a penalty kick that they converted into another goal.
Republic missed a chance to cut the lead in half when Neosho’s keeper dove left to knock away a penalty kick by Jackson McGuire in the second half.
With about seven minutes remaining in the game, Republic scored its only goal when McGuire lined up a shot from about 30 yards out and pounded it past the Neosho keeper just inside the right post. That made the score 2-1, and Republic hurriedly reset the ball at midfield.
The Tigers had another opportunity a couple of minutes later when Isaac Jordan found Jabali Wanekya in the left corner. Wankeya’s shot sailed just inches over the crosspost and landed on top of the net.
The game ended in some controversy when officials blew the whistle early because of a timing miscommunication. But instead of focusing on that mistake, Hauck stressed his team’s inability to take advantage of opportunities as the primary reason for the loss.
“We’ve put ourselves in that situation this year. The chances are presenting themselves to us, and we’re just not taking advantage of them,” Hauck said. “I think at times it’s hesitance to shoot, [and] that goes along with trying to make one too many passes. There were opportunities [tonight] where we are one-on-one with the keeper and instead of taking a shot, we’re looking to make the next pass. We’ve got to finish those opportunities.”