XENIA — Things just tightened up a bit in the Miami Valley League’s Valley division title chase.
First, Xenia knocked off division leading Sidney 2-0 earlier in the week to close the gap.
Now, Fairborn has nipped Xenia 2-1 on Thursday, Sept. 19 to pull the two teams within a game of Sidney in the division standings, with just a handful of games yet to play.
Brothers Keegan and Donovan Dierker, sons of Fairborn coach Greg Dierker, scored the Skyhawks goals and assisted on each other’s goal in the win at Doug Adams Stadium.
Donovan’s score came with 16:10 left in the opening half of play on a drive up the right side of the field and a blast into the left corner of the goal.
Barely a minute into the second half, Xenia earned a free kick from about 20 yards away from the Fairborn goal. Ian Cushman launched a high shot from that spot and it fell into the upper left corner of the Skyhawks goal to tie things up at 1-1.
Fairborn appeared to get most of the offensive tries in the second half, but it wasn’t until Keegan Dierker launched a right-to-left shot with 8:33 left to play, from about 23-yards away, that the Skyhawks were able to grab the lead for good.
“Donno scored on Keegan’s assist, and Keegan scored on Donovan’s assist,” Greg Dierker said. “They’re leading our team in goals and assists this season. They’re currently tied for 13th in the MVL in scoring, too.
“This is a game that could’ve gone either way. They’ve played some interesting games lately where they defeated Sidney and they tied Troy (on Sept. 3), and we lost to both of those teams. … Our defense stood out today, we really didn’t let them in.”
When Xenia would get a shot off, it never came from close range. Fairborn senior goalie Zach Gillman recorded 11 saves for the win.
With the Fairborn win, Sidney is 3-1-1 in the division. The Yellow Jackets lead Xenia (2-2-2) and Fairborn (3-3-0) by one game, with four league games yet to play. Xenia and Fairborn both have three MVL matches remaining.
“With this win over Xenia, we’re right back in the hunt,” Dierker said.
Xenia coach John Bongers remained optimistic despite the narrow loss.
“I thought we didn’t knock it around as much as we would’ve liked to, but I thought we created enough chances — at least three good chances in the first half; and a couple good chances in the second half. We just couldn’t connect on them. Credit those Fairborn guys. They had a couple good chances and they scored two nice goals, and sometimes that’s how the game goes. … Ian Cushman put in a great shift, and scored a nice goal for us. I was proud of the whole group.”
Both teams have the rest of the week off. Fairborn remains on the road, taking on Tipp City Tippecanoe at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24 for its next match, while Xenia will play its third of five-straight home contests. The next one is also on Tuesday, when the Bucs will host Greenville for a 7 p.m. game.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.