A tap-in from Derek Gebhard gave Forward Madison a first-half lead but a defensive miscue let the visiting Greenville Triumph score late and the Mingos had to settle for yet another draw in front of about 3,200 fans at Breese Stevens Field Saturday night.
Gebhard’s fifth goal came after a steady buildup, with Gebhard playing a ball across from the right to Jesus Perez, who completed the switch of fields with a pass to Tyler Allen on the left. Allen put a cross in for former Triumph striker Jake Keegan, but it was parried aside by Greenville’s reserve keeper, Paul Christensen. However, Keegan pounced on the rebound and put a dangerous ball across the face of goal, where Gebhard was able to tap it in.
Greenville equalized in the 79th minute after Madison left back Cyrus Rad played a pass back to goalkeeper Phil Breno, but the pass back was elevated and Breno had to play it off of his chest, and the ball took a generous bounce to the feet of Lachlan McLean, who struck paydirt to level the match.
“We were the architects of our own demise tonight. We’re throwing it away,” Head Coach Carl Craig said of the late mistake.
The result is the club’s league-leading 11th draw, eight of which have come after Madison had a lead. Five of those draws have come when giving up goals in the 79th minute or later.
“We’ve been in the driving seat. It’s not like we’re not going to win the game. It’s just these last 10 minutes, something stupid goes on in an individual’s head,” Craig said. Sometimes that’s been a game official, and sometimes that’s been a Forward Madison player, he said. “We’re still a heck of a team. We’ve got to turn the good stuff into wins … I think we’ve shown we can play with anyone” he added.
Craig said he’s unsure what can be done to solve the late-game issues.
“The problem is, you cannot recreate the last 10 minutes of a game (in training),” he said.
The club will play its next four matches away from Breese Stevens Field beginning at New England at 4 pm Friday.
Saturday’s draw puts the club tied for sixth place on the table with South Georgia Tormenta, both on 29, with Tormenta having the edge in wins. The top six teams make the playoffs.