By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — It may look like a tie in the record books, but Tuesday night’s 2-all outcome felt like a loss for the host Fairborn Skyhawks.
Greenville co-captain Jack Garland knocked in a close-range shot with 67 seconds left to enable the Green Wave to escape Fairborn’s soccer field with the tie. Fairborn held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but failed to come away with the victory.
“It hurts to halve this game, only because we felt we had control of the American South division,” Fairborn coach Greg Dierker said. “Greenville’s a good team, but it’s still tough to give up the lead with just over a minute to go like that. But they had as many chances as we did. It was a pretty even game, but it was a tough loss tonight, because we lose our control (of the division) the rest of the way. We’ve gotta keep getting some wins, not ties.”
With the loss … er, tie, Fairborn is now 1-5-2 overall, 0-3-2 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South Division. They have American Conference matches at Trotwood-Madison (today), home with Riverside Stebbins (Sept. 20), at West Carrollton (Sept. 27), at Piqua (Oct. 6) and a home finale with current first-place Xenia (Oct. 11) still ahead on the schedule.
The mood was noticeably more upbeat after the match for Greenville (5-3-0, 4-1-0 in the American North).
“We played really, really well in that second half and I think we earned that tie,” Green Wave coach Mark Coppess said. “Jack Garland always does a nice job for us and works hard. He did a nice job in getting that late score for us. This feels like a win for us, actually. It’s a tie, but we’ll take it.”
Coppess said Greenville played with more aggression in the second half. According to him, they out-shot Fairborn 7-2 in the half.
Fairborn scored first when senior midfielder Mason Duck drove deep into Greenville territory, then crossed a pass to his right to sophomore midfielder Josh Greene who then kicked a right-to-left shot into the back of the Green Wave goal with 14:10 left to play in the opening half.
Greenville responded with a long high-arching kick by Tani Mancillas which dropped in over the Fairborn goalie’s outstretched hands and just under the crossbar for the tying score.
Skyhawk senior tri-captain Walker Newell scored on a nifty behind-the-back shot from close in on the left side to give Fairborn a brief 2-1 lead, but then Garland stole Greenville defeat from the jaws of a Skyhawk victory with his late-game heroics.
The tie keeps Greenville’s division title hopes alive. In the GWOC’s American North, all six division members — undefeated Troy and Tippecanoe, along with one-loss Sidney and Vandalia Butler, and two-loss Piqua — remain in the hunt.
The Wave play at Troy tonight in what could be a pivotal game for both teams.
Reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.