By AFC Ann Arbor
It was a lovely evening in Columbus as not only was it 78 and mostly sunny at Ohio Dominican University, but on that pitch The Mighty Oak took care of business and beat FC Columbus 3-1 to take all three points back home. A pair of early first half goals were responded to well by their opposing side, but a sending off and eventual third in the second half spelt victory for AFCAA.
The first ten minutes saw AFCAA taking early control with possession, and even a solid half chase thanks to an Alex Alexis shot from a tight angle in the fifth minute. In the 11th minute, though, it was a moment of magic from Jack Hallahan. On the right wing, Hallahan cut inside from outside the box and drilled a shot past FC Columbus keeper David Abonce Rodriguez. The keeper stood no chance and it was a well-taken hit from the wide man.
AFCAA would double their lead thanks to Sebastian Chalbaud in the 23rd minute. Off an attempted corner clearance, Columbus could only send it as far as Chalbaud. He hit it off the volley and once again, the keeper was beaten. It was sheer brilliance from The Mighty Oak’s newest man in midfield. Unfortunately for AFC, the two-goal lead would not last long as Jonatan Paniagua found the back of the net from about 25 yards out on a free kick.
The goal from the home side made for a suspenseful end of the half, and Ian McGrane was even tested in net by Damani Camara, but the lead would hold up until the halftime whistle.
Columbus was hit with an injury-forced sub on Camara and a red card (the second yellow) on their goal scorer within the first five minutes of the second half. While the red card and loss of a key attacker did not slow Columbus at first, the vulnerability was there. Jake Rufe was played through by Alex Alexis, but Rodriguez was up for it in net.
In the 76th minute, AFC found that much-desired insurance goal. Jarred Dass had a shot deflected in the box, but the deflection went straight to Yazeed Matthews. The big striker merely had to tap it home as Rodriguez had already began diving in anticipation of Dass’ attempt. The goal was all AFC needed to see out a positive result. From then on, despite a lengthy stoppage time period, The Mighty Oak were able to control possession and keep opposing chances to a minimum.
Against a strong FC Columbus side, AFCAA were able to start off hot with a couple of wonderful goals. From there, strong defense against pacey attackers was key in maintaining a lead over their foes. Ultimately, The Mighty Oak will be happy to walk out with all three points and feel that they were well-deserved. The Mighty Oak men are in action next Friday again on the road against Detroit City FC. They will hope to continue their winning ways away from home at Keyworth Stadium.
Photo Credit: Ken Tishenkel/ISNSoccer.com