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DADE CITY — Judging by Pasco coach Barry Grayling’s postgame comments Monday night, one might not ascertain his team had just posted its second shutout of the season, 4-0 over Sunshine Athletic Conference rival Mitchell.
“It wasn’t the best game, but 4-nil’s 4-nil. It’s a clean sheet,” Grayling said.
The host Pirates took a commanding 3-0 halftime lead, but the Mustangs carried play for most of the second half despite getting just two of their three shots after the break. There were moments when Pasco, which tallied 10 shots, got several solid scoring chances, but that inconsistency bothered Grayling.
“We didn’t play good-flow soccer,” he said. “It was stop and start, stop and start. We can play much better than we did.”
There were no complaints about the play of Dillon Dunbar, who scored twice. The senior midfielder opened the scoring in the ninth minute by blasting a shot into the top right corner off a direct free kick. His third goal of the season, a hooking 25-yard shot into the same spot, closed out the scoring.
“I went top right twice and, yeah, I like that,” Dunbar said. “I’m right-footed and I like to have a curve on the ball. Some keepers might think it’s going out (wide), but it’s not.”
The outcome might have been more lopsided if not for a few spectacular saves by Mitchell keeper Brian Hoxie, who stopped three point-blank attempts by Jose Flores and a shot in the second half. Hoxie got some help from defender William Scott, who got in the way of a rebound try from Daniel Navarro on a wide-open left side.
After Dunbar’s first goal, Michael Mazza and Nestor Ponce each scored their third goals of the season to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead at the break.
Mazza tucked the ball inside the far left post after taking a nice cross from Flores off a throw-in in the 22nd minute, and Ponce finished off a give-and-go with Carlos Riojas by beating Hoxie with a rising shot just under the crossbar in the 34th minute.