With the crowd buzzing about the two goals, the Flames held a 2-0 margin over the Chargers at halftime, but the visitors, who carried a three-game winning streak into the match, would not go down without a fight.
Josh Ball, who finished the night with the hat trick, tallied the first goal at the 10:26 mark. Chevon Roberts delivered the ball into Arturo Rocha, who found Ball. The senior ripped his shot past the Charger keeper and the Flames were in business.
“It was a great night for JB (Ball),” said coach Paul Furey. “His final goal secured the victory as he knocked it home after Eli’s (Price) flick and Justin’s (Furey) cross.”
Ball’s second goal came on a long pass from Roberts. He stepped around the keeper with a one-on-one move and made it a 2-0 game at the 26:29 mark. “I’m really proud of the guys,” stressed Furey. “We came out of the gate and got the two early goals. UAH is a team that shut out their three previous opponents. Chev (Roberts) did a great job of setting up JB.”
The Chargers came charging back in the second half. Kyle Simmons tallied his 10th goal of the season to make it a 2-1 match.
“I was disheartened with our defensive breakdown at the start of the second half,” admitted Furey. “But our guys demonstrated composure in answering their threat to get back in the game twice. UAH is a good team and our guys can build on this.”
The third goal came from 45 yards out on a free kick by Rocha, and it stunned everyone as it sailed over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net. “Arturo’s goal was huge. It picked us back up,” noted Furey.
UAH fought right back and cut the margin to 3-2 when Anthony Benitez picked up a rebound and drilled it into the back of the net from six yards out in the 67th minutes
It was Ball’s time to answer again and destroy any hopes of a Charger comeback, when he broke free and scored his third goal of the evening and eighth of the year.
The Flames made the best of 14 shoots, placing seven on target. The visitors took 15 and put seven on goal. Tom Halsall had four saves in the win and UAH keeper Will Carpenter was credited with three.
The Flames improved to 4-3-2 on the year and 3-2-2 in the Gulf South Conference. Alabama-Huntsville stands at 5-4-1 and 3-4-0. Lee will travel to West Florida on Friday and seek revenge for a 1-0 overtime defeat they suffered a couple of weeks ago.