Another great Saturday night for soccer at Manhattan Village saw Doxa overcome a strong Artesia team to move top of the league. Doxa coach John Gerard had a very strong squad to pick a starting line-up from. Dave Adams and Eric Meister moved into center midfield, while Ryan Taylor got the start up top beside Derk Droze. Doxa took control of the game from early on, and got some early shots on target. Steve Chirgwin had a few long distance shots that went close, ensuring the Artesia goalkeeper was alert on his line. The breakthrough for Doxa came from some good work on the right. Bryan Byrne took a long throw in, which Derk Droze got his head to. The flick on was perfect, as it fell to the onrushing Kyle Holland at the back post. Holland finished the ball perfectly in the keepers near post. Artesia did create some chances, one of which took a great save from Brandon Avery to keep out. Avery had to dive low to his right, and somehow managed to hold the ball with an Artesia forward closing in. The second goal of the game came from good work by Holland on the left. After beating 2 players, Holland played a high ball into the back post. Byrne had drifted in from the right and jumped with the Artesia defender and the ball broke loose on the ground. Byrne swung and half volleyed the ball into the far corner. Raul Palomares made his first appearance of the season, coming on for Taylor midway through the first half. There was a pretty interesting moment just before half time, when the ref called an indirect free kick for an Artesia backpass. After some debating, Steve Chirgwin touched the ball off to Nate Reeves who drilled the ball into the 10 Artesia players on the line. Somehow the ball managed to stay out…although Reeves did put one of the players on the line into the back of the net!
Doxa started the second half in cruise mode, which didn’t do the team any favors. In fact, Artesia looked like the better team and created some decent chances. The back line of Devon Toohey, Nas Koubaras and Nate Reeves had to work hard to keep Artesia out. Doxa did have some joy from the left, with Ilia Nazarov putting some great balls into the box. After some slick interchange between Nazarov and Palomares, Droze had a cracker of an effort (on the volley) that the Artesia keeper somehow managed to claw the ball out of the top corner. Soon after, a Sean Lockhart corner sealed the win. Lockhart placed a ball to Koubaras on the back post, who rose above the keeper and 2 defenders and knocked it back across goal to a wide open Byrne. Byrne placed it between 2 defenders to get his second of the game.
Amazingly, Doxa didn’t have a yellow card during the game, although there were some tough tackles. Nate Reeves, in particular, had his moments but for once he managed to avoid a booking. On another note, Matt Ogden might have avoided getting the yellow Jersey back for doing a decent job in his role up top. The midfielder subbed in up top beside Droze, and managed to keep the ball at his feet for longer than 2 seconds. Hey, its an improvement!! Next week see’s Doxa play second placed CGSA at 1pm. (Veterans Park Soccer Complex, Pomona)
Starting Line Up: