Gaffa (photo: Michael Shartava)

AFC Mobile Falls to Eastern Conference Leaders Gaffa FC

AFC Mobile lost 3-0 to Gulf Coast Premier League Eastern Conference leaders Gaffa FC of Jackson, MS on Saturday night in front of another great crowd of 816. The game was a physical, chippy affair with six yellow cards shown between the two teams.

AFC Mobile dominated possession early in the first half. Clairy Kengeye streaked down the side of the pitch and sent in a beautiful hanging cross, but couldn’t find anyone on the receiving end.

“When you don’t finish those early chances, it really puts you behind the eight ball when you get a strike on goal or try to finish it and you don’t capitalize,” AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said.

Ten minutes into the game, Gaffa’s Chance Boardene got behind the Mobile defense and took a soft shot that was easily collected by Mobile’s goalkeeper Elijah Gibson. Five minutes later, Gaffa’s Cory McCabe took a free kick from the right hand side of the pitch that went wide.

In the 15th minute, Gaffa’s Steven Simmons blindsided AFC Mobile midfielder Greg Hosford with a violent shove during a stoppage in play. The home crowd pleaded with the official to discipline Simmons, but no card was shown.

Clairy Kengeye was a bright spot in the first half for Mobile. In the 27th minute, he displayed some fancy footwork, dancing his way into the right side of the box and playing the ball to Batevya Mediateur, but Mediateur’s shot was saved.

Two minutes later, Mobile’s Amos Ndikumana fired a shot from the left hand side of box that went just over the crossbar.

In the 31st minute, Gaffa’s Michael Kuwornu powered his way behind the Mobile defense and attempted to take a shot from a tight angle. Mobile’s Austin Hilyer attempted to clear it, but the ball took a bad deflection and bounced into the net, giving Gaffa a 1-0 lead.

Mobile nearly equalized in the 45th minute when Chris Rumsey took a shot that was deflected away by the Gaffa keeper, but no one from the home team was able to get on the end of the ball. The ball eventually found the feet of Ndilkumana, who sent a shot over the crossbar.

Mobile was unable to continue the momentum from late in the first half into the second, as Gaffa’s Stephen Roberson chipped a shot from 20 yards out that went soaring over Gibson and into the back of the net, giving the team from Jackson a 2-0 lead.

“I think when the second half started and they scored that goal early,” Nicholas said, “we were pressing, pressing, pressing and we almost pressed too hard and got a little bit out of our wits.”

AFC Mobile nearly pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute when Matt Merrill fired a header off a Mediateur corner kick from point blank range that was saved by the Gaffa keeper.

Gaffa’s Patrick Ross was shown yellow in the 61st minute for forcefully throwing the ball in at Gillespie’s back, but Gillespie was also shown a yellow for inciting the incident.

As the second half continued, Mobile had chances to cut the scoreline in half. In the 66th minute, Mediateur played a ball to Kengeye on the right hand side of the pitch. Despite a heavy first touch, Kengeye took a shot from a tight angle that went into the side netting.

“They got in our heads a little bit… it shows our youth when you’re able to get put off your game like that and that’s what they did to us…we let them get in our heads a little bit,” Nicholas said. 

In the 72nd minute, Ndikumana was brought down in the box. The fans cheered for what they thought was surely a penalty, but their appeals were ignored by the referee.

Gaffa nearly added a third goal to their tally in the 77th minute off a free kick, but the ball was cleared off the line by Gillespie. The away team tacked on one more goal in stoppage time after a giveaway by Mobile’s KC Espoir. Gaffa’s Chance Boardene found himself clear behind the Mobile defense and slotted home the final goal of the night.

Join us next Friday as we say “Thank You Mobile” at our final home match of the 2017 GCPL Season. Kickoff against the reigning GCPL champions, CD Motagua of New Orleans, is at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night, July 7th at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex. Tickets are only $5, and kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.

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