The Brentwood Bruins (7-2-2) and Hendersonville Commandos (5-4-2) played under the lights at James C. Parker Stadium Thursday night, with both teams looking to gauge just how good they can be this year.
Thanks to a goal in the 15th minute of the game, the Commandos got the 1-0 victory with their hard work and defense. This win comes after the loss that the Commandos took against another member of Brentwood’s district, Franklin, who they lost to by eight goals.
“We didn’t play good enough to win,” said Brentwood coach Mike Purcell. “I know that they really took it in on the chin a couple of games ago against Franklin, but that really was not relevant. We didn’t play bad. In the second half, I thought we played pretty well. Every team needs a game like this where maybe this was the game we needed to end up the way we did. Tonight Hendersonville worked harder than us and they won the game, so hats off to them.”
Brentwood broke the ice with an early opportunity. The Bruins played a ball into the box that was bobbled by the Hendersonville goalie, but it didn’t trouble the Commandos after he collected it.
They had another change in the seventh minute of the game as they had a corner kick. This would be cleared by the Commandos to keep the game tied.
Then came the 15th minute of the first half.
The Commandos played a ball down the left side of the field that was collected by Nelson Sandoval.
Sandoval quickly took the ball to the goal and shot it right over the Brentwood goalkeeper to give the Commandos the lead.
“Anytime we play Hendersonville, it’s a hard game,” said Purcell. “Hendersonville played great. They capitalized and got that early goal, and put us on our heels.”
After the one goal was scored in the first half, the Bruins would have some chances to tie the game, but nothing seemed to fall for them.
One of the more notable chances for the Bruins was a shot in front of the goal that hit off the crossbar and bounced out in the final minutes of the first half.
“We had plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Purcell. “We had one in the first half that hit the bar and I thought that was in the goal, I didn’t know. So we had our opportunities, we just couldn’t finish.”
Hendersonville went into halftime clinging to their 1-0 lead after surviving Brentwood’s advances late in the closing minutes of the first half.
Brentwood came out of the gates firing to start off the second half. The Bruins began playing more balls in the air towards the Commandos defense to create more chances.
“We did change a little bit and tried to put more pressure up top,” said Purcell. “We did have our chances. The thing that Hendersonville did so well was win balls in the box, and the 50/50 balls. We just couldn’t win enough of those to capitalize on our progress.”
Six minutes into the second half, the Bruins tried to sneak a throw in past the Commandos defense as they threw it into the 18-yard box. The Bruins headed the ball well, but it just missed the net and went into the side netting.
Later into the second half, another opportunity presented itself for the Bruins as they played a ball over the Commando defense, but they were once again shut down before they could get a shot off to challenge the goalie.
Hendersonville had some great chances to double the lead in the second half, but couldn’t find the net like they did in the first half.
The last few minutes of the game, Brentwood had a number of set pieces that were shut down by the Commandos, sealing the win.
This is Hendersonville’s fifth win of the season as they move to 5-4-2. They will play Beech next Tuesday in an away district game.
After this loss, the Bruins move to 6-1-3 on the season. They have a game against Clarksville this Saturday before playing the number one team in the district, Franklin, next Tuesday.
“That’ll be a fun game,” said Purcell. “We gotta finish better. We had plenty of chances tonight. It just comes down to that. In that moment of time you’ve got to have the composure to finish the shot, and we couldn’t do that. If we finish we’re fine, if we don’t we’re in trouble.”