ROCKINGHAM — If there’s one thing the Raiders could take away from Thursday night’s match, head coach Bennie Howard said, it would be that they can’t dig themselves in an early hole and still expect to win.
The Richmond boys soccer team gave up three goals to Forest Hills senior striker Malik Timmons, who had already netted 23 goals prior to the non-conference game, in the first 30 minutes of play. Howard made the defensive game plan around Timmons’ scoring ability, but his team wasn’t ready to play from the opening whistle.
Two quick goals in the latter part of the first half and a successful penalty kick in the second half got the Raiders back into the game, but that wasn’t enough. Their comeback fell short and dropped a 4-3 decision to Forest Hills.
“You can’t just play 50 minutes out of an 80-minute game and that’s what we did. We stunk it up in the first half,” Howard said. “But hats off to him (Timmons). He’s an all-state player…and he had his hat trick tonight.”
Richmond (5-4, 2-2 SAC) finally woke up after the Yellow Jackets took a 3-0 lead in the first half, as it stayed the course and eventually found some momentum after goals from senior midfielders Patrick Hamilton and Carter Roberson.
Hamilton found the back of the net first and then Roberson followed — his first score of the season — less than two minutes later, and the home team went into halftime only trailing by one goal.
In the second half, Victor Lucero’s penalty kick in the 52nd minute tied things up at 3-all but the scoreboard didn’t stay that way for too long. Forest Hills freshman forward Chandler Perez dribbled his way through the box and put the Yellow Jackets ahead 4-3 only 23 seconds after Lucero’s goal.
The Raiders couldn’t get a clean look at the goal over the final 20-plus minutes and went on to lose for the fourth time in their last six games — after opening the season with three consecutive wins.
“Like I’ve said all year long, it’s a growing process. We’ve got to grow,” Howard said. “We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and learn how to play as a team. We’re not playing as a team the majority of the time.”
Richmond will look to turn things around in its first matchups against Seventy-First (Monday, 6 p.m.) and Scotland (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) next week. Both matches will be played at home.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.