An electrical problem was the only way Madison could keep Mansfield Christian off the scoreboard on Saturday afternoon.
However, a intermittently malfunctioning scoreboard didn’t reflect the reality on the field where the Flames claimed a 6-3 win on the Rams’ home pitch.
Mansfield Christian (7-1) put the game on ice early with three unanswered goals in the first eight minutes, forcing Madison (5-3-1) to play from behind the rest of the way.
“That definitely didn’t help,” Madison coach Tim Lord said. “We never got into the game we have played all season. We started kicking long balls instead of making short passes and keeping possession.”
Three different Flames scored early, two off corner kicks . Brandon Mount reached the net first at 38:56, Josh Cochran at 32:26 and Brendan Ernsberger just 5 seconds later.
MC coach Jesse Rider loved the quick start, but thought his team relaxed a bit due to the quick 3-0 lead.
“We were fortunate to get off to the great start. After that we played great at times and then poorly at times and let (Madison) stay in the game. It should help teach our kids we need to play a solid 80 minutes,” Rider said.
“We kind of had a mental lapse. It took us until the second half to see we still had a game on our hands,” Rider said.
Madison’s Bryan Taylor scored the first of his three goals with 21:12 left in the first half on a run down the right-hand side and slamming the ball into the left side of the net.
“Bryan was his normal non-stop self,” Lord said of the senior. “He would run through a brick wall if you asked him. He never complains … never asks for a subsitute .. never wants a substitute.”
After Mount’s second goal on a rebound put the Flames up 4-1 with 17 minutes left in the half, Taylor struck again on another run at the 7:13 mark, narrowing the Mansfield Christian lead to 4-2 at the intermission.
Cochran netted his second goal less than six minutes into the second half and Mount tallied again at 19:54, increasing the Flames’ lead to 6-2.
Mansfield Christian used its crisp, short passes to consistently advance against the Madison defense throughout the game.
“They moved the ball better than any team I have seen this season,” Lord said. “They are very skilled.”
Rider, whose team is now 3-1 against Ohio Cardinal Conference teams this season (wins over Madison, Clear Fork and Lexington; a loss to Mansfield Senior), said his team’s offense is by design.
“We stress keeping possession of the ball because we know the other team cannot score if we have the ball,” Rider said. “We work on moving without the ball, keeping the ball and not making silly mistakes.”
Taylor finished the scoring with 14:01 left when he split two Mansfield Christian defenders and placed a shot into the left side of the net, beyond a diving goalkeeper.
Lord, whose team is 2-2 in the OCC, said the loss was a learning event.
“I told our players we must learn from our mistakes, take the positives and the negatives and move on and improve. It’s a very long season,” he said.
Rider, whose team returned just a few starters from last year’s regional finalist team, said his younger players have learned quickly.
“We have had a lot of sophomores and freshmen stepping up and filling their roles,” he said. “We have had a lot of guys contributing.”
Mansfield Christian plays again Monday at Ontario while Madison is at home Tuesday against Lexington.
Mansfield Christian also won the JV game, 4-2.