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SHELLEY â€” It was unknown which was tougher on the Shelley Russet boys soccer team. The strong opening first half by the visiting Preston Indians or the constant cloud of grain dust from the farmer in the adjacent field which certainly didn't help the overall health of anyone in the vicinity.
After the dust had settled on the Shelley pitch, the visiting Indians did just enough to hold off a strong rally by the Russets in a 2-1 win.
"We didn't have a very strong first half and at the half I told them that we can play with this team," Shelley head coach Brian Park said. "I told them that it was 0-0. Let's start over and let's go out and just do it."
Indeed, the Preston squad were very active in the first half placing shot after shot on senior goal keeper David Butler.
For his part, Butler was equal to the task, picking up a majority of his 23 saves in the first forty minutes of play.
"David is a senior and this is his third season as our keeper," coach Park said. "He has improved immensely over that time and he played a pretty good game today."
Despite the early pressure, Preston only led 1-0 at the half, courtesy of a penalty kick in the fourth minute of play that was rather questionable in it's awarding.
"That first goal was bunk," coach Park said. "I thought that both players were shoulder-to-shoulder. No way a penalty shot should have been called there."
In the second half, Shelley took it to Preston, outplaying the Indians for the majority of the latter forty minutes of play.
To his credit, the Preston keeper held up his end of the field and a pair of shots off the cross bar hurt the Russets chances.
Preston got a late goal in the 71st minute which proved to be a huge piece of insurance because Daniel Noriega was able to cash in on a penalty kick of his own in the 79th minute of play, making the score 2-1.
"We played good but we still need to improve on a few things," coach Park said.
Shelley (0-2) will travel to the defending state champion Bonneville Bee's on Thursday for their conference opener.