Photo Credit: Michael Shartava
AFC Mobile drew the New Orleans Jesters 1-1 on Saturday night at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex to remain unbeaten at home in the 2021 season.
“The Jesters are a tried and true NPSL club. So the positives – we’ve played them twice, we’ve got two draws. They were competitive games, we’re evenly matched. Maybe they had a little bit more of it today, but again we’ve had enough chances to win games and win this game tonight. So I’m proud of the guys’ effort,” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said.
It was an even affair in the first twenty minutes of the match with few scoring opportunities for both sides. Mobile’s Ronaldo Fortune provided a spark for the home side when goalkeeper Will Blake played a long ball out of his own box, finding the feet of Fortune in behind the New Orleans defense. Fortune was taken down in the box and the home fans clamored for a penalty, but it was not given. The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 20th minute thanks to some fantastic combination play between Fortune and midfielder Soane Deminguet. Fortune played the ball to Deminguet, who dribbled down the left wing and sent an arching cross back to Fortune at the top of the box. Fortune chested the ball down and struck it with his first touch, sending it soaring over New Orleans’ keeper Lemoy Graham and into the back of the net.
“Credit to Soane, it was beautiful play leading up to the goal,” Fortune said. “To be fair, he played the ball to my chest and I had a good touch and I didn’t have enough time to dribble or anything, so I just thought ‘you know what? The coaches always tell me to shoot, so why not shoot.’”
Much of the first half saw New Orleans pressing hard to equalize, forcing Mobile’s goalkeeper to make a few spectacular saves to keep the home team’s lead. However, Blake was beaten in the 45th minute when New Orleans’ Sheldon Green sweetly struck a ball at the top of the box and into the Mobile net, making the match 1-1 at the half.
It was a defensive struggle to start the second half with both teams finding space and scoring opportunities hard to come by. Mobile saw a few chances near the end of the half when Fortune played a slick, low-rolling cross to Iba Ndaw. Ndaw tried to find Fortune to complete the one-two, but the ball was easily cleared by the Jesters. Late in the match, Mobile’s Blake Palmquist was tightly marked and his shot soared over the crossbar.
The 1-1 draw keeps Mobile in fourth place in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference standings. The Azaleas will play two home matches this week, welcome the second-place Southern States this Wednesday, and Pensacola FC on Saturday night. New South Alabama head football coach Kane Wommack will join us to do the opening coin toss on Wednesday night. Next Saturday night will be our annual Military Appreciation Night where military personnel are admitted for free with a valid ID. Tickets for both matches can be purchased here.