The Santa Ana Dons allowed the College of the Desert Roadrunners to get a late equalizer on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The Dons let the lead slip away in the 90th minute after a poor defensive display on a set piece.
During the first half, the Dons were the team in charge. Throughout the half the Dons defenders did not allow the Roadrunners to get a single shot off, making the job of sophomore goalkeeper Jorge Cortes look easy. Sophomore defender Antonio Wall rose to the occasion at the back with a clean display that gave the Dons the shutout in the first half.
In the frontline, the Dons lacked the finishing touch with several opportunities gone to waste. Just in the first half the Dons added a total of eight shots, but forced only two saves from the Roadrunners’ goalkeeper. Ultimately the lack of being clinical in the final third came back to haunt them.
“It is always a bit frustrating when you have that many opportunities and aren’t able to bury them away,” said sophomore midfielder Jesse Mancilla. “Other than not being able to finish our chances, we were dominating possession of the ball and controlling the tempo of the game, which is a positive we are taking away from this game.”
The Dons were finally able to open up the score at the 66th minute from a penalty. This chance was created after a long throw-in from freshman defender Daniel Tolmasoff. The throw-in was launched into the Roadrunners 18 yard box and was headed by freshman defender Saul Vasquez. The header was immediately stopped by the Roadrunners defender but Vasquez still fought for the ball and didn’t allow the ball to be cleared out. In that challenge Vasquez was kicked by a Roadrunner defender and the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot.
Stepping up to take the penalty was Mancilla, who was looking to collect his second goal of the season. Mancilla was coldblooded at the spot and slotted the ball delicately into the goal. Completely fooling the Roadrunners goalkeeper by sending him into the opposite direction and putting the Dons up 1-0.
“As soon as I grabbed the ball, I knew it was going in the back of the net because my confidence was sky high this game and I love being able to prove myself,” said Mancilla. “At the end of my run up, I tend to stutter to be able to see where the goalie is going to dive, and right when I saw the goalie move I knew exactly where to put it.”
Unfortunately the Dons were not able to collect the win as Tolmasoff was turned by a Roadrunner attacker and was forced to commit a foul. The Roadrunners went all out in the final minutes to find the equalizer and put all their players including their goalkeeper into the box.
The Dons failed to clear the cross from the set piece which was connected by a header from a Roadrunners defender. The header was hit with enough power to get past Cortes who was left tracking the ball without a chance for a save.
With this late tie the Dons now hold a record of 4-2-3, and will begin conference play next week. Their next home game will be against Golden West College on Friday Sept. 30 at 3 p.m.