Patel scores 2 goals, lifts AHS

Published 12:42 am Saturday, April 6, 2013

Andalusia’s Hiren Patel scored two goals for the Bulldogs Friday night. |            File photo

Andalusia’s Hiren Patel scored two goals for the Bulldogs Friday night. |
File photo

Andalusia soccer coach Tim Ramsden held up his state championship ring that he won with Tuscaloosa Central and reminded the Bulldogs what they were trying to play for Friday night.

With this burst of inspiration from their experienced coach, the Bulldogs put a thrashing on Charles Henderson, winning 3-0 in area action in Troy for the school’s fourth shutout of the season.

Ramsden said the reminder, he talked about his experience playing with professionals and coaching England’s national team goalie.

“Tonight was my biggest night so far,” he said. “The next biggest one will be two weeks from now. If we win that game, and do it at home, that’ll be great.”

Andalusia’s Hiren Patel scored two goals, Kevin Rooks scored on a penalty kick and goalkeeper Chris Smith made some stellar saves to lead the Bulldogs.

This win was the most convincing the team’s had this season, Ramsden said.

“To beat them 3-0, by far the strongest team we’ve faced, that was huge,” he said.

With this victory, the Bulldogs improve to 10-1 on the season. They’ll face CHHS again on April 19 at home for the area championship.

CHHS put a scare in Andalusia when it tried for a header on goal at the 17th minute of the first half. Luckily for the good guys, the ball went over Smith and glanced off the top of the cross bar.

Rooks scored the first goal for AHS after a foul at the 23rd minute. Rooks fired the ball through the goalie’s left hand in the right side of the net to make it 1-0.

Smith then made two double saves at the 26 and 27 minute marks to keep AHS in control.

Patel’s first goal came a couple minutes later after “slicing” through the Troy defense for a shot on goal. His first attempt was blocked, but he got the rebound to give the Bulldogs a strong 2-0 lead.

Smith made a great save to keep the game at 2-0 at halftime.

In the second half, CHHS had a lot of chances in front of the goal, but didn’t finish when it had to.

Things got exciting — as if they weren’t already — in the 57th minute when Smith sent the ball way down field on a Troy attack in the penalty box. A minute later, Smith was back at it again, but this time making a diving save to stop the cutter goal.

Troy’s goalie decided to challenge the ball in the penalty box area, but Patel tipped the ball away, where it went in on a slow roll.

Ramsden said the players played the exact opposite from their 4-2 loss to Mary Montgomery on Tuesday.

“The kids really did what we didn’t do on Tuesday night, and that’s coming out and playing hard from the first whistle,” he said. “We fought very, very hard. I knew there’d be fireworks, and there were. They played controlled, but yet very, very physical.”

Andalusia gave a 110 percent effort, Ramsden said.

“I’d said that we’d been winning on heart, passion, determination and tenacity,” the coach said. “They showed that tonight. As a whole, I’m very happy with the way the team played.”

AHS will be back in action on Mon., April 15, at home against Enterprise.

Editor’s note: Additional reporting from the game was provided by Allen Woodard.