By Chuck Reherman
No place like home.
After a disappointing performance in their first road trip, Yukon returned to their home pitch to get back on the winning side.
The Millers use a Gilberto Velasco goal and held off a late Southmoore surge to beat the Sabercats 1-0 Tuesday night at Miller Stadium.
YHS scored their lone goal in a wind-aided first half. The strong wind with gusts up to 30-miles per hour played a factor in the game and the Miller defense was able to stave off Southmoore’s attack with the win in the second half.
“This wind made it a game of two halves,” Miller head coach Neil Hilton said. “The first half we were on the offense and I was worried that if we didn’t score more than one that we would get punished for that, but we defended amazingly the second half.
“Caden (Allen) came up with good stops in goal and Jackson (Suffeld) played strong on the defense,” he added. “This was a different team that showed up on Tuesday that Friday.”
Southmoore, in the final minutes had pressed that Miller defense and after a shot was tipped away as the final seconds were ticking down, a Miller player sent the ball into the stands. The official stopped the game, gave Yukon a yellow card and awarded Southmoore a free kick after putting three seconds back on the clock.
Southmoore sent the ball to the middle of the goal where Suffield leaped up and headed the ball away and led to the whistle sounding.
“He was trying to rid of the time on the clock, it was worth the yellow card,” Hilton said. “I did get a little scary on the corner kick, but Jackson stepped up and made the play for us.
“I felt overall in the game we had the best chances in the first half,: Hilton said. “Southmoore really didn’t break us down in the second half, they were just direct, long shots with the wind and corner kicks. They really didn’t really play through us and our organization was really good tonight.
“Jackson was huge all night and that is what we expect from our seniors,: he said. “Obviously we were missing one next to him, but Hayden (Griffin) stepped up and committed to the team. I thought defensively Jackson, Hayden, Jorden (Varghese) and Jasen (Bruce) were big time and Caden in goal was really big time.”
The Millers did go with the wind to open the match and had their chances, but came away with only one goal, on a shot by Velasco 32:31 into the match. The Millers were awarded a free kick after a Southmoore foul and Velasco scored his fourth goal of the season. He has scored all the goals for the Millers in three matches this season.
Southmoore did get a first half chance after a hard tackle by the Millers led to a yellow card for the Millers. The Sabercats had one other chance, but missed wide with 1:35 left in the half.
“I was concerned in that second half, because we wanted to go with the wind in the first half and wanted to get a lead on them early on. With the one goal it was concerning, but to get a clean sheet against a team like Southmoore is impressive.
“We did have some good chances in that first half, we knew we would be under pressure in that second half,” he said. “But overall we edged the game. I felt the heart and the compassion of the guys were just amazing.
“This was a different team than the one that played Stillwater Tuesday night, we were more focused and played with more desire and that was encouraging to me.
“I was tough on them yesterday and they listened. I felt they needed a kick in the backside and it worked for them yesterday.”
The Millers had lost to Stillwater 2-0 on Friday in what Hilton called a lackluster performance, but turned things around against a stronger Sabercat side.
“We were aggressive and we competed for every single ball tonight at that was the difference,” Hilton said. “That is all we can ask from the players.”