The Tennessee Wesleyan College men's soccer team travelled over four hours on Friday for a game in Montgomery, AL against the #9 team in the country, Auburn University at Montgomery. It was a big test for the TWC who hadn't got a result against a top 10 team in many years.
The TWC team was fired up from the first whistle, but AUM had been in this situation before and their composure and class on the ball began to show. They were moving the ball around the team, finding feet, moving off the ball, playing the type of soccer that TWC had done in their first game of the season at Cumberland University. TWC was working hard, but every time they had the ball they seemed to give it back to the grateful AUM side.
AUM's superior possession had began to take a toll, they created a number of very good goal scoring chances, but Clark Lydon in the TWC goal was up to them, pulling off a string of very good saves to keep it at 0-0. Finally the deadlock was broken in the forty third minute, AUM's right back Taian Souza delivered an in swinging left footed cross from their right, the ball found Elvar Sigurdsson who headed the ball past Clark Lydon in the TWC goal. It was no more than AUM deserved for their impressive first half performance. The score at the half was TWC 0 AUM1.
TWC made some changes at half time and came out for the second half a different team. The work rate was still high, but now they were moving off the ball and keeping it more than the impressive AUM team. TWC was beginning to wear down AUM and they were now giving the ball back to TWC. Chances began to be created from these giveaways, Theo Dweh had a one on one with the AUM keeper which he managed to save with he outstretched foot, Laurence Hutchinson fired a shot just over, Luke Winter and John Carrier were finding more spaces and beginning to influence the game. It seemed a goal was coming, and it eventually did in the eightieth minute from a TWC corner, Theo Dweh curled a left footed ball into the far post from the right, Danny Smith climbed highest to power a header into the back of the AUM net.
The drama was not over, with five minutes left in the game one of the AUM strikers turned sharply in the box and was adjudged to have been taken down be TWC center back Josh Simnett. AUM's Vitor Silva stepped up to take it against the intimidating figure of Clark Lydon in the goal. Silva's shot rebounded back off the crossbar to the delight of Lydon and the rest of the TWC team. This was the last action of the half and with the score tied at 1-1 the teams were heading into two periods of golden goal overtime.
TWC looked the more threatening team throughout both overtime periods and it was them who had the ball in the back of the net. Senior Luke Winter looked to have broken clear, he slid the ball past the AUM keeper and into the net. TWC began to celebrate, but the assistant referee's flag was raised and the goal was pulled back for offside.
TWC had put in an impressive performance to come from behind against one of the top teams in the country. It was a game of two halves and both teams had chances to snatch the win.
TWC played against #17 Belhaven less than 24 hours after this game ended and found themselves still lagging from the previous day's work. The Bulldogs were down 2 at half and then suffered 3 more goals in the 2nd half by Belhaven to be defeated 5-0.
The Bulldogs will play on Friday at Lee University in Cleveland, TN at 7:00 pm.