At the Ed Myer Complex, Frank Barger delivered a shot into the bottom left corner 3 minutes and 43 seconds into overtime to lead Titusville to a dramatic 2-1 region victory over Oil City.
On senior day, six Rockets set to star in their last, first home game of the season, were recognized prior to kickoff in front of a packed house. However, the visitors came to play spoilers.
Less than 10 minutes into regulation, the Oilers garnered a free kick from just outside the box. On what would be the first shot of the evening, Cyrus Williams curled the kick over the Rockets’ defense and past Titusville keeper Joey Banner, giving Oil City an early 1-0 advantage.
The locals were unable to produce a goal in the opening half, despite creating plenty of worthy opportunities. The Rockets’ best chance of the opening half came in its final seconds off a rushed corner kick from Campbell Sines that was tipped in, but waved off as the clock expired.
“There was a lot of emotion going into this game,” said coach Joey Timon. “I think that is why we started the way we did.”
After a frustrating first half, Titusville came out of the break on an offensive surge, attacking Oilers goalkeeper J.J. Glass from all angles. Finally, at the 12-minute mark, the Rockets broke through.
Sam Ruot took a pass from Sines and dribbled the ball deep into the box before tucking a shot under the reach of Glass, tying the game at 1-1.
The two rivals engaged in a physical back-and-forth battle for the rest of the second half, with neither side conceding a goal for the final half-hour of regulation.
After a brief chance for the teams, and the crowd, to catch their collective breaths, overtime began.
Both clubs held strong in the neutral zone, not allowing either to gain any sort of traction. But then, with the clock closing in on the halfway point of the first overtime session, Sines, again, connected on a pass in to the middle, this time finding Barger who battled through a convoy of Oilers to rip a shot on goal and send the locals’ faithful into a frenzy.
“It feels good,” explained Timon, who earned his first career win as the head coach of the Titusville boys soccer program. “These boys deserve something like this. At halftime we took control of our game and that carried over into the overtime period.”
On the evening, the Rockets mustered 25 total shots, including 12 on goal. Banner stood strong between the posts for Titusville, stopping eight consecutive shots after allowing the Oilers’ goal.
Offensively, Ruot managed 10 shots, three of which came on goal including his second-half tally. Barger contributed five shots before his game-winner, while four other Rockets picked up shots in the 2020 home opener.
“(The boys) saw the effect and reward of working together in that second half,” said Timon. “It was nice to see them come together like that, and I am excited for them.”
Titusville now stands with an even 1-1 overall record, and will travel to Franklin on Thursday evening for a 6 p.m. match up with the Knights.