By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
OSHAWA, ONT.- Heading into the second half, the Centennial Colts men's soccer team felt like a goal was going to come for them as they were only down by one despite having more chances on goal.
But 21 seconds in, Durham added another as Nigel Buckley fired a shot that went off the hands of Colts rookie goalkeeper Chim Oneyeka and into the back of the net.
"I can't fault a goalkeeper for letting in a soft one every once in a while," Julian Carr, Colts Head Coach said. "It happens."
A goal like that could have been a backbreaker for Centennial. Instead, it got them going.
"The guys decided that they weren't going to go out like this," Carr said. "They stood up, decided to be counted, and wanted to make a run at second place (in the standings)."
Centennial overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a hard fought point in a 2-2 tie at Vaso's Field against the Lords, on the strength of two goals in five minutes, to remain undefeated on the road (3-0-1).
"When you're away from home, there's no pressure," Carr said.
Although Centennial (4-2-2) had more shots (14-11), Durham (5-0-4) had more shots on goal (8-6). Kyle Cohall (Centennial) and Aiden Donaldson (Durham) each had yellow cards.
Jeremy Bangala had a goal and assisted on Buckley's goal for Durham while Colin Reilly assisted on Bangala's goal.
Centennial had two glorious chances to score in the first half but Cox's header up front was stopped by Lords goalie Kevon Grant in the 18th minute while Wilson went solo against four defenders and fired a left footed shot in which Grant was forced to make a leaping save in the 29th minute.
Durham broke through in the 33rd minute when Bangala deflected a corner kick from Reilly off the left post and in past Oneyeka.
After Buckley's goal to open up the second half, Centennial desperately attacked, looking for a sliver of opportunity to get back in the game.
That came in the 58th minute when Wilson fired a right footed strike to open up the scoring for Centennial. Wilson's speed left the Lords backline dazed at times as he scored against his old team.
"It was very rewarding," Carr said about Wilson. "He creates space and opportunities for himself. The problem was, he should have had three."
The equalizer came fairly quickly. After forcing Durham to commit a foul, Cox scored on a free kick from just outside of the box in the 63rd minute for his team leading eighth goal of the season.
"He's much more focused, taking on a leadership role, and he's hungry," Carr said about Cox's improvement this season compared to last.
"The movement between the midfielders and the strikers combining and feeding the ball gives me more opportunities," Cox said about his goal spike. "Just playing over time helps us gel together as a team."
Grant was injured on the play and was forced to leave the game, being replaced by Dylan Toland. Centennial then turned on the pressure even more but Toland was up to the task, most notably making a diving stop on a header from Rodion Matveev in the 79th minute.
Oneyeka recovered from his gaffe to rob Buckley point-blank twice late in the game (82", 89") to keep the game tied.
"All year, he's done the housekeeping when we've needed him to," Carr said of Oneyeka's goaltending. "He could've shrunk like a violet but he didn't."
"Speed of the game and the physicality," Oneyeka said about the adjustments he has made as a goalie at Centennial. "As I train in practice and games go on, I've gotten better and I try to improve every game."
Terrell Roberts, who played a terrific game on the left side, had one last chance to get a win for Centennial but his low shot curved wide just inches away from the right post.
"I thought it was in, to be honest," an exasperated Roberts said. "It's a little bit frustrating but a tie is a tie. Better than taking a loss."
Centennial: Chrystiann Morim Domeles: 53" (upper body)
Durham: Aiden Donaldson: 90" (lower body), Kevon Grant: 63" (lower body)
TOP THREE PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Jeremy Bangala (STR): 1 goal, 1 assist
Nigel Buckley (STR): 1 goal
Cody Kraemer (D)
CATCH OUR NEXT GAME
Centennial has five days off before completing the road portion of the season against the Seneca Sting on Wednesday Oct. 10 at 8:15pm.