The last chance for the Chattanooga Football Club's bid for a second consecutive Hank Steinbrecher Cup title bounded off the crossbar in the 2016 championship match's final moments Saturday night.
The shot, a nice header by CFC goalkeeper Greg Hartley, signified a match full of created opportunities and near-misses by the host club.
The Chicago Fire of the Premier Developmental League produced a pair of goals from Mark Segbers, the latter coming in the second overtime period, to win the title in front of 3,439 at Finley Stadium.
There is very little rest for Chattanooga FC (4-1), which will face the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League on Wednesday in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, also at Finley.
Segbers put the Fire on top in the 22nd minute from a nice assist by Elliot Collier. CFC then started creating a number of chances but met repeated resistance from the Fire defense that had crowded the goal and prevented a number of shots from becoming dangerous. Luke Winter had a goal waved off for being offside.
CFC evened the match in the 48th minute on a goal by Winter, and both teams created chances the rest of the way but were unable to score.
Segbers changed that in the 108th minute, scoring on a corner kick for what turned out to be the game-winner.
"We created chances tonight to score that normally end up in the back of the net," CFC coach Bill Elliott said. "The goalkeeper, the field players cleared two or three off the line, and that was the difference. Usually when we create those, they end up in the back of the net.
"On their second goal, the ball bounced around kind of awkward and ended up in the back of the net, which is a bit unlucky, but when the chances come, you've got to take them. If you don't, it'll come back to bite you, and that's what happened to us tonight."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.