DOBSON — A fan of Surry Central would probably say that conference rival Forbush was lucky on the soccer field on Wednesday evening.
A Falcons supporter would probably say that the Golden Eagles made their own luck in what turned out to be a 1-0 loss in a battle for first place in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference.
Central (11-3, 2-1 WPAC) stood toe-to-toe with the unbeaten Falcons and had the lion’s share of the good scoring opportunities, with an 11-4 edge in shots on goal, but failed to convert multiple golden opportunities throughout the course of the evening. Meanwhile, the visiting Falcons capitalized on one of their few quality chances, turning it into a penalty kick opportunity in the 33rd minute of play.
Forbush senior Edgar de la Sancha was able to get his shot past Eagle keeper Jonathan DeSantiago, and the Falcons’ 1-0 lead stood for the remainder of the evening. With the win, the visitors improved their season record to 16-0-1.
“We did some good things and we struggled on some things,” said Surry Central head coach Blake Roth. “The effort was there. We’re just going to have to figure out what we did wrong.
“Forbush did do a good job of keeping us off our game. We wanted to keep the ball on the ground and make some crisp passes, and they kept the ball in the air.”
The Eagles were ultimately undone by a sequence of events that happened right before the clock ticked under seven minutes to go in the first half. At the time, Forbush was controlling play on the field and had been for several minutes, after Central had done so for most of the opening 25 minutes. Five minutes before, Carson Davis had thrown a ball deep in on the Eagles’ goal and one of his teammates appeared set to score when a handball was called, ending the threat.
Now, Davis seemed intent on calling his own number, and he was approaching the penalty area on the visitors’ side with Central’s Fernando Talavera struggling to mark him. Eventually Talavera tripped up Davis, and the referee ruled that the foul occurred inside the goal box.
De la Sancha took the penalty kick for the Falcons and blasted past DeSantiago to his left.
“I don’t know if it should have been a PK or not, it doesn’t matter,” said Roth. “It seems like we give up a PK every time we play Forbush.”
The Eagles didn’t want for chances to score. The first shot on goal came in the sixth minute, when Talavera directed a shot on the Forbush goal that was saved. Less than two minutes later, Miguel Tello had a chance from about 10 yards away from the goal with the keeper out of position, but missed outside the left post.
Central’s defense didn’t even have to clear a ball out of danger until the 23rd minute of the match. When the Falcons got a corner kick a few minutes later, Javier Villacana cleared it. But the Eagles spent most of the remainder of the opening half on defense, and it cost them when Forbush took the lead on the penalty.
Less than a minute into the second half, Alex Rangel took a corner kick for Central and the Falcon defense cleared it out, but in the direction of Isaac Sanchez, who duly took an uncontested shot from 25 yards away. He aimed his shot at the inside of the right post — and missed it a foot the other way.
Two minutes later, with the Eagles still on the attack, Luis Padilla missed a header from inside of five yards near the left post, and the ball ended up outside the right post less than a half-minute later, where Tello misfired again.
Back came the Falcons, and de la Sancha tried to give his team an insurmountable leader when he got clear 25 yards in front of the Central goal, but his shot was a foot over the crossbar, leaving the score at 1-0.
In the 38th minute, the Eagles’ Arturo Lopez used some fancy footwork to beat three Forbush defenders and earn himself an open look from about 15 yards away, but it went right in on the keeper.
Forbush’s Davis had a chance at the clincher in the 58th minute, when he dashed to a loose ball in front of the Central net, but Rodrigo Landaverde got there in the nick of time and cleared the ball out of the danger zone.
Play settled down from there until the Eagles made one final run with two and a half minutes to go. With several players from both sides packed in against the Forbush goal, Nolan McMillen and then Landaverde both had shots inside of 10 yards, but neither could get the ball into the net. The Falcons cleared the ball out and then ran out the clock in possession.
“We got some good looks at the goal, and you’ve got to finish those, and we didn’t do it,” said Roth. “That one at the end, their goalie was dead to rights, and we just shanked it.”
The Eagles will host Walkertown in a non-conference match tonight.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.