Pensacola FC hosted AFC Mobile in a NPSL Gulf Conference clash on Wednesday at the Foley Sports Tourism Championship Stadium in Foley, Alabama. The game started with both teams cautiously testing each other as they each were coming off losses in their previous match.
Pensacola had the earliest chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when a great sequence of passing allowed Pensacola’s Prince Owusu to get in behind the Mobile backline. Owusu floated a beautifully weighted cross to a wide-open James Morrissey who had an empty net at his mercy but managed to hit wide from three yards out. That miss seemed to wake up the Azaleas who were looking for their first points of the season
Mobile broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute after some good interchanging passing saw Alex Lozano in on goal with only Pensacola goalkeeper Mark McMillan to beat. Lozano placed a beautifully struck ball to the left hand corner of McMillan. That goal seemed to spark some life into the Azaleas as they started growing in confidence. Pensacola was struggling to get anything going in their attacking third and couldn’t find that final pass to create a goalscoring chance. Things seemed to have settled a bit in the game as both teams were trying to retain possession of the ball.
Pensacola was starting to see a bit more of the possession, but a clumsy giveaway in the 32nd minute just outside the 18-yard box by Pensacola’s Lorenzo Pereira-Weber saw the ball land directly at the feet of Mobile’s Ronaldo Fortune.
Fortune then placed a powerfully low shot to the bottom right hand corner of Pensacola’s goal. That gave the Azaleas a 2-0 lead and put them on course for their first victory over Pensacola FC since the 2019 GCPL season. As both teams entered the locker rooms for halftime, Mobile would have felt that they deserved to be on top and would come out looking for more goals in the second half.
With Pensacola down by two goals, they came out from the break blazing. Just as the first half ended, the Pelicans began controlling the lion’s share of the possession, but just could not find a goal to cut into the deficit.
Then in the 47th minute Mobile’s Tate Richards was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Pensacola’s Azahrias Ali. Pensacola head coach Dean Logan introduced Michael Lightbourne, who was nursing a slight injury, to help them get that goal and cut the scoreline in half.
With a man down, Mobile sat back more defensively subbing of Jackson Wheatley for Edward Dakwa. The Azaleas sat deep in their half, looking to hit Pensacola on the counter attack as the Pelicans pushed players higher up the field. The game grew more frustrating for Pensacola as they came close on a couple of occasions. Chances fell to Jayce Dotson and Jarred Dass but they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Christopher Salamatou caused the best second half opportunity for Mobile in the 83rd minute following with some fancy footwork, only to be denied by McMillan in the Pensacola goal.
As the final whistle blew, the Azaleas recorded their first victory of the season.
]Logan shared his thoughts on the game.
“Credit to Mobile,” Logan said. “They came in seeking their first points of the season, and they were clinical in the final third. We just couldn’t put away our chances which in the end was not favorable to us.”