POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Sometimes hard work doesn’t pay off in the long run.
Sophomore Elora Shinn scored on a direct kick with less than four minutes remaining in regulation as visiting Nitro claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Point Pleasant girls soccer Wednesday night in a non-conference friendly at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
After starting the season with nine consecutive road games, the Lady Knights (2-7-1) put together a solid effort in their 2016 home opener — although the final score didn’t reflect that in the end.
PPHS outshot the Lady Wildcats (5-4-3) by a 14-7 overall margin — including an 11-4 edge in shots on goal — but the Lady Knights were anything but lucky when it came to finding the back of the net.
Point Pleasant controlled the attack zone possession from the start as the hosts fired seven of their 10 first half shots on goal, including a pair of shots that bounced off the bars.
Teagan Hay hit the right post with Point’s first shot of the game, then Chelsea Black hit the left side of the cross bar midway through the first half.
PPHS claimed a 10-5 advantage in shots — including 7-3 in shots on goal — as both squads entered the intermission tied at zero.
Both teams stepped up the defensive intensity in the second half as neither program mustered a shot until Point’s Emilee Hitt fired an attempt with 16:56 remaining in regulation.
Nitro’s first of two second half shot attempts didn’t come until Tori Porterfield missed with 13:02 left in the game.
The second NHS shot, however, was a heartbreaker — even though it was a thing of beauty to witness.
After a hand-ball was called on Point Pleasant about 22 yards to the right of the hosts’ goal, Shinn lined up a direct kick and let it fly over a trio of Lady Knight defenders.
Shinn’s kick sailed over the PPHS wall and eventually over the outstretched arms of Point keeper Monica Cook. The ball then snuck under the cross bar and into the net with 3:56 remaining, making it a 1-0 contest in favor of Nitro.
The Lady Knights never came up with another solid shot the rest of the way, and the Lady Wildcats walked away with the one-goal triumph.
Nitro — which is now unbeaten in its last four outings — also earned a 3-3 draw with Point Pleasant earlier in the year during an August 23 match at NHS.
Afterwards PPHS coach Chris Errett was disappointed with the final outcome, but that was about the only disappointment he could find with the contest.
“The result is a little tough to swallow because it was easily our best 80 minutes of the season,” Errett said. “Sometimes you just have a game where you do everything right and just can’t finish it. It also took one heck of a shot to beat us.
“I hate to say it, but this was about as good as we could be in a 1-0 loss. I’m also hoping for more of a similiar effort like we had tonight the rest of the way.”
Emmalee Hinkley stopped 11 shots in net for Nitro while picking up the shutout win. Cook stopped three shots in goal for the Lady Knights.
Nitro claimed a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Point Pleasant returns to action Saturday when it hosts Princeton in a non-conference match at 1 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.