Beautiful Pioneer Stadium was host to the NPSL National Game of the Week on April 8th between the East Bay FC Stompers and Golden Gate Conference newcomers, Napa Valley 1839 FC. The match ended 3-3, with both teams picking up their first point of the season. The game was a hotly contested match with both sides having the lead and the referee showing multiple yellow cards.
The match got off to a quick start. Within minutes, a bad give away at the back from Napa Valley led to the opening goal of the game, when East Bay midfielder Prince Bere intercepted a poorly played back pass. He went in on goal and calmly finished it for the host to take the early 1-0 lead just three minutes into the match.
Napa Valley built their way back into the game following the opening goal, controlling most of the possession for the next ten minutes. However, the next big chance came for the Stompers when a scramble in the box led to a big clearance off the line.
The Stompers would follow this up by doubling the lead in the 28th minute when there was a miscommunication in the back by Napa Valley. This led to another Stompers’ goal, this time by Zanin Mahic as he took advantage of the mistake to make it 2-0.
Napa Valley responded quickly following the second goal and pulled one back for the visitors in under a minute. Bryan Marin beat his man and chipped the keeper to reduce the deficit back to one.
Both sides would see a few more chances before the break, but the half ended 2-1 with the Stompers still leading.
As the second half began it was Napa who this time got on the board early to bring the score level at 2-2. Arnulfo Garcia found space in the box and neatly headed the ball home.
The Stompers tried hard to regain the lead when striker Khalid Arramdani was in one on one with Napa keeper Roberto Llamas who came up with the first of many huge saves in this game to keep the score tied.
Napa Valley would turn the game completely on its head in the 67th minute when forward Bryan Marin scored his second goal of the game after another miscommunication in the back between keeper and defenders, this time by the Stompers. At this point, Napa had completed the turnaround from 2-0 down to 3-2 up.
The Stompers would then throw everything forward in attempts to salvage a point in the final 20 minutes. Their effort started with a penalty shout in the 70th minute that was waived off by the referee. This was followed a minute later with a penalty being awarded to the Stompers when Khalid Arramdani was fouled from behind. Diego Garcia would step up to the spot for the Stompers, but see his shot saved by Napa keeper Llamas to preserve the lead temporarily.
Napa was able to hold onto the lead until the 87th minute when the Stompers were awarded another penalty kick after a yellow card for Napa Valleys’ Bryan Marin. For the second time in the game, Stompers defender Diego Garcia would step up to take the penalty, this time burying his second chance to bring the match back to three all.
The final chance of the match would fall to the host once more as Khalid Arramdani saw his stoppage time effort rebound off the post back to himself. In a great effort, he then headed the ball, but it was miraculously saved by Roberto Llamas yet again, as the match finished 3-3.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hodul/NPSL.com
Photo Credit: Donnie Graham/East Bay FC