E.A. Sports Today

Falcons fall on golden goal

Donoho played one of the best teams in the state nose to nose, led in the second half, but fell on a header in OT

By East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM – One of the best soccer teams Donoho has ever put on the field gave one of the best teams in the state all it could handle for more than 80 minutes Tuesday, but in the end the Falcons were dumped by a golden goal.

Altamont’s Evan Poole scored on a header three minutes into the first overtime to hand the Falcons a 3-2 loss in the opening round of the Class 1A-3A state soccer tournament.

The Falcons (13-4-1) had the lead in the second half, stopped a penalty kick to protect it and turned back nearly every threat, only to fall in the extra period.

“We’re just really, really happy with the way we played,” Donoho coach Matthew Wright said. “I think this is probably one of the best team we’ve ever put out there. It was a good game and it’s been a great season.”

Donoho trailed at halftime 1-0, but the Falcons tied it when Hinton Owsley’s intercepted an Altamont back pass and scored. The goal seemed to energize the Falcons and they continued to attack.

Mitchell Baker just missed giving them the lead when his shot hit the crossbar, but the Falcons did grab the lead a few minutes later when Noan Wright split the defenders, found Baker loose behind the defense and Baker got fouled in the penalty area. Wright buried the penalty kick and Donoho led 2-1 with about 20 minutes to play.

Ross Hagan protected the lead by extending his body to stop a penalty kick – one of his 16 saves — and when he did get pulled off his line, his defense backed him up by clearing balls from potentially open goals.

“I felt like it was going to happen right after they stopped the PK,” Wright said.

The Knights (13-5-3) eventually tied it with a cannon shot with eight minutes left in regulation.

In the overtime the Falcons were content to play defense and “see if we could ride it out and counter attack like we’d been doing,” Wright said. But the Knights got a big cross in the box and even though he was contested in the air Poole managed to get his head on the ball and put it in the top corner of the goal.

“I don’t believe in moral victories, but that’s a really good team there, they’re good year in and year out and we played them nose to nose,” Wright said. “I had to feel maybe they overlooked us a bit. It was a good battle. They came to play. This is one of the best teams we ever put on the field.”

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