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Inverness 3, Inverness 1

Inverness won Saturday night's soccer game, even though Inverness lost the game 3-1.

The team from Inverness, Scotland, came on strong in the second half to put away their Inverness, Fla., opponents in a match between the two sister cities at Citrus High School.

It is the fifth year the contest has been held.

The competition was energetic, even though a kindred spirit was evident between the two teams, which presented each other with gifts before game time.

The Scots received engraved beer mugs; the Floridians were given lapel pins.

After the game, the team members hugged like old friends.

"The people here are brilliant," said the Scots' team captain, Dean Higgins, after the game. "Though we play other games in Florida, this is the reason why we come."

Higgins has played in each Inverness versus Inverness game. He rated this year's team as the best local squad they have faced.

"They were very tough. In fact, we're going to borrow a couple of them for when we play in St. Petersburg Monday (today)," Higgins said.

He said the Scots' offensive strategy was to lure the Floridians deep into their territory, cause a turnover on defense and lob the ball behind the attackers into a soft spot.

The strategy paid off twice in the second half, as even the Floridian goalie was so far out of the box that the Scots scored from nearly midfield with a lob kick.

The turnout for the game was good. The home stands at Citrus High were nearly filled, mostly with high school students who cheered for both sides.

"They are like friends and family," said Mike Young in the stands.

After the game, many of the players from both sides said they were going to hit the showers and head downtown for a few beers.