The New Orleans Jesters were out to keep their top spot Saturday at Pan American Stadium against an undermanned Rocket City United squad that made the trip with only 11 players.
With the help of Keir Hannity’s three goals, they were able to stay in the front with a 4-1 win over Rocket City. The win qualified the Jesters for the National Premier Soccer League playoffs.
While the visitors from Huntsville, Alabama, were missing substitutes, the Jesters were without coach Kenny Farrell who was ejected in the team’s June 14 game at Nashville and was serving a one-game suspension. He watched the game from the press box.
Farrell said while it was difficult to watch the game away from the sideline, his squad stayed in sync.
“They did a good job of organizing the team,” he said. “Our patterns were good. Our defending was good. Everybody did their job very well.”
The Jesters (5-1-2) entered the match leading the NPSL’s Southeastern Conference. At the 8:30 mark of the first half, they started to tighten their hold as Reece Wilson, on an assist from Phil Dean, kicked the ball past Rocket City goalkeeper Tyler Earley to put New Orleans up 1-0.
“I’m happy with it,” Farrell said about the game. “They were a few players we got out of the game early. We’ve got two big ones coming up next week. If we win them, who knows? We win the league.”
Hannity added the next point when he had a high kick that went toward the top of the goal post at the 24:35 mark of the first half to extend the lead to 2-0. It looked like the Jesters had a third goal, but an offside call nullified the point.
“He works very, very hard on the field,” Farrell said. “His touches are excellent. He keeps possession very well. He reads the game very well.”
At halftime, New Orleans had 13 shots on goal compared to Rocket City’s two. The Jesters had six corner kicks while Rocket City (1-3-1) had none.
At the 59:10 mark, Phil Dean made the corner kick and Hannity got his second goal when he headed in a shot to extend the lead to 3-0.
New Orleans’ Ryan Reid received a yellow card at the 64:15 mark of the game.
Hannity got his third goal when he kicked the ball in near the top of the box to extend the lead to 4-0. He then exited the game.
Rocket City got its first goal off a penalty kick following another yellow card on the Jesters. Juan Hernandez had the goal to cut the lead to 4-1.
New Orleans plays its next game Saturday at Chattanooga. The Jesters won the May 24 game 3-2.