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HomeProfessionalAppalachian FC earns clean sheet victory over Bristol, 4-0

Appalachian FC earns clean sheet victory over Bristol, 4-0

By Zach Smith. BOONE, N.C. — Soccer fans in the High Country couldn’t have asked for better weather June 1, when Appalachian FC took on Bristol Rhythm AFC in a Saturday night match. App FC came away with three goals of their own after 90 minutes of dominating play — plus a generous “own goal”,  given to them by Bristol, for a 4-0 shutout win.

Elie Bokota contributed a goal and an assist in Appalachian FC’s 4-0 victory over Bristol Rhythm AFC June 1. Photo by Josh Floyd, courtesy of Appalachian FC.

Following sustained pressure through the first 10 minutes of play, Appalachian forward Elie Bokota continued his hot streak with a low drive from beyond the penalty area that just got past Bristol goalkeeper Logan Cassel. 

Just six minutes later, Bristol defender Grayson Cunningham attempted to pass the ball to his goalie. Before Cassel could react, the ball trickled into his own net, doubling App FC’s advantage in the 19th minute.

Later in the half, Bokota headed the ball to teammate Thomas de Graauw, who drilled it into the upper corner. Appalachian took a 3-0 lead into halftime.

Trailing by three out of the locker room, Bristol had a clear chip on their shoulders. Cunningham’s day went from bad to worse as he received an immediate red card following a hard foul in the 49th minute. Fellow Rhythm defender Archie Day received a yellow card for dissent in the aftermath of Cunningham’s being sent off. Day picked up a second yellow card minutes later, and the visitors were forced to play with just nine men for the remaining 35 minutes.

Following early fireworks in the second half, there was a lull in action. Appalachian was focused on holding their three-goal advantage by dominating possession, and Bristol was unable to get their offense going. A goal in the 90th minute by substitute forward Kevin Arguello sealed the match for App FC.

Appalachian head coach Dale Parker shared his gameplan following his team’s dominant victory.

The Appalachian FC faithful showed up in full force to watch their team’s 4-0 victory over Bristol Rhythm AFC June 1. Photo by Josh Floyd, courtesy of Appalachian FC.

“I think the message before the game was to make sure we start well, leave no doubt in that first 10, 15 minutes,” Parker said. “This is a home game, get the fans involved. We always like to do that as quickly as we can. I think we definitely accomplished that and it typically leads to a strong performance.”

Elie Bokota was key for the home side, scoring the eventual game-winning goal and assisting on another. Bokota spoke on his motivation to continue his impressive form.

“Right now, I’m on a mission,” Bokota said “This year I want to score as many goals as possible. Last year, I heard that there’s a guy that played a couple of years back who had a record of 14 or 15 goals. I want to break that record.”

“Right now, I’m on a mission”

Parker was complimentary of Bokota and his role on the team.

“He’s a massively important player for us,” Parker said. “He’s tricky, he’s slippery, he can score goals. He’s added that to his game over the past year. Hopefully that continues. It’s going to be a long season and we need him fit, healthy and scoring goals if we want to have team success.”

Appalachian FC is No. 2 in the NPSL Southeast standings but have played one less game than first-place Hickory FC. Their next match is against Greenville United June 8 at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex in Boone at 7 p.m..


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