MATHEWS, N.C. — The Memphis 901 FC completed a 3-1 comeback win over the Charlotte Independence, thanks to a Cal Jennings brace.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Hague was integral in the win with 8 saves and 2 clearances. Jennings’s brace brought his season total to 6.
Charlotte had the opportunity to rise into the top spot in Group G with a win or draw. The 2020 season has not been in the 901 FC’s favor.
The 901 FC often broke out to a first half lead in its matches since the restart.
If Memphis maintained those leads, they would be top of Group G with an 8-4-1 record, 25 points and looking forward to the postseason.
Instead, the 901 FC sit bottom of the group with a record of 3-7-4. Despite a bleak 2020 season the team can use the two remaining matches to rebuild confidence for the 2021 season.
Memphis began the half with a sense of urgency. The 901 FC accumulated 60% possession through the opening 20 minutes.
Jose Baxter worked as a metronome in the center of the park with 13 completed passes.
The 901 FC controlled the match with quick passing play but it was Charlotte who created the first goal scoring chance at the 21-minute mark.
Joel Johnson sent a powered header following a corner kick. Hague made a reflex save to his left, to keep the match level.
Hague nearly pulled off another athletic save three minutes later. Charlotte’s Jake Areman glided down the left flank before targeting Dane Kelly with a cross.
Kelly sent a glancing header on target with Hague diving again to his left but this time the shot deflected off his glove and into the net.
Kelly, who netted a brace in a comeback win against the 901 FC earlier in the season, has 11 goals for the season. Memphis responded to conceding first with the quickest back-to-back goals in club history.
Minutes before the conclusion of the 1st half Baxter pulled off the 901 FC’s goal of the season. Keanu Marsh-Brown found his compatriot in space 20 yards from goal and Baxter sent a curled effort off the crossbar in the top right corner.
Like a bolt of lightning, Memphis stuck once more to take the lead in the 44th minute. Jennings showed his pace with a timed run before gathering a Leston Paul through ball and burying a shot from close range.
Charlotte looked to bag the equalizer in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but Hague continued his stellar night between the sticks.
The former Michigan State standout made three successive saves to bring his total to 7 on the night. His 7th save was made by his trailing leg on the goal line following a first time shot from Kelly.
The 901 FC was able to sit back, soak up pressure and fire attacks at Charlotte on the break. Their finished product in the final 3rd left something to be desired but the defense held strong against Kelly and the rest of the Independence’s forwards.
Against the run of play on a counterattack, Jennings showed his class once more. In a pure solo effort Jennings dribbled past 3 Independence forwards before unleashing an 18-yard strike into the bottom left corner.
The forward has the 6th fewest minutes played for the 901 FC and leads the team in goals with 6. Memphis closed out the match to secure their third win of the season.
The 901 FC’s final scheduled match is Saturday, October 3rd against the Birmingham Legion FC.
Kickoff is set for 7.p.m at AutoZone Park.
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