Weather, boorish and incompetent officials and sloppy midfield play has led to a rough patch for the Northampton Yellow Jacket soccer team.
An away game at arch-rival Nandua ended in a 4-2 loss. Northampton actually led 2-0 at halftime, but with the wind gusting against them, the second half was played almost entirely on their end of the field. The rock-hard field and gusting winds led to erratic, bouncing balls that were difficult to handle. Defensive misplays led to 4 second-half goals by the talented Nandua squad.
Northampton easily dispatched Chincoteague 8-0, but away at Arcadia, they fell 2-1. The game was marked by very sloppy mid-field play by both teams and ended in regulation 1-1. In the second overtime, Arcadia capitalized on a Northampton defensive breakdown and scored an easy goal for the win.
Back at home with Nandua, the downward spiral continued for the Jackets.
Before the game even began, the referee pulled aside the Jacket’s leading scorer Joey Creed and alerted him that they would be watching him. And they were. Many of the kids that have grown up playing in the Shore Soccer league have been taught heads down, fast and aggressive play, using the body and positioning. For this officiating crew, which treats the sport of soccer more like its a game of golf, that kind of play is a negative.
Against Nandua, the cheap fouls against Northampton came early and often, pretty much nullifying the Jacket’s diamond attack. Playing against a fast, talented and beautifully coached team like Nandua is hard enough, but having to negotiate regressive, boorish and incompetent officiating doubles the task. Frustration was palpable as easy calls like handballs, charges and illegal tackles were consistently missed or misplaced. This was summed up by a complete miscall at the end of the second half. On a throw-in, a Jacket player attempted to block it and was called for a yellow card. At halftime, a review of the rules noted that an attempted block is allowed as long as the player is 3 feet back (he was), and the first offense is only a warning, not a yellow card.
It was more of the same in the second half, ending with a Nandua win 3-2.
With two games left this season, Northampton still has time to correct some problems as they attempt to head into state finals.