MOBILE, AL – In a reversal of what transpired at the second match of the season, AFC Mobile came back from a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 with the Louisiana Fire Saturday night at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile. Earlier this season, AFC Mobile fell to the Fire 2-1 after two heartbreaking, last-gasp goals by the team from Kenner. But it was AFC Mobile, led by Forward Chisom Ogbonna, who spoiled the Fire’s night this time around in front of yet another Gulf Coast Premier League record-breaking crowd of 951.
“It’s always nice to be on the better end, but I would’ve liked that to be the winning goal instead of the tying goal, but this is a season where we’re learning… and I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t be more proud of the guys, just fighting through, fighting hard,” AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said. “It’s easy to get down and to quit, but these guys keep coming out every week and working hard and nobody in the league can says they’re getting an easy game from us. When they come they know they’re gonna get a tough game.”
The Fire nearly found the back of the net seven minutes into the game when Danni Eyo beat the Mobile defense and fired a shot into the side netting. Ten minutes later, the Fire’s Dante Oliver sent another a shot into the side netting.
AFC Mobile nearly took the lead in the 22nd minute after Greg Hosford crossed in a beautiful ball to Chisom Ogbonna, but Ogbonna’s header ricocheted off the left post. Minutes later, Clairy Kengeye sent a cross across the face of the goal, but no one was there to receive it.
In the 31st minute, Ogbonna had another chance to give Mobile the lead, but his header went just wide. Mere seconds later, the Fire’s Oliver took a shot that bounced off the bottom left post right back to himself, then slotted it into the net to give the Fire a 1-0 lead.
The Fire nearly doubled their lead two minutes into the second half. AFC Mobile goalkeeper Brent Grube came off his line, but the Fire’s Donte Oliver chipped a shot passed him, which was cleared off the line by Mobile’s Pat O’Neal.
The Azaleas nearly equalized on a Batevya Mediateur corner in the 50th minute. A mass of bodies scrambled in front of the Fire goal, and Mobile’s Guillermo Lumbreras, Jr. got on the end of it, but his shot went just over the crossbar.
Mobile had another chance to get on the board in the 54th minute. Chris Rumsey kept the ball from rolling over the touchline on the west side of the pitch and played the ball to Kengeye, whose first shot was saved by Fire keeper Pepe Serrano. The ball bounced back in front of Kengeye, whose second attempt crossed the face of the goal and went wide.
Ogbonna had another chance to bring Mobile level, but his long range shot went just wide.
In the 58th minute, the Fire’s Oliver was brought down in the box. He slotted home the penalty himself, giving the Fire a 2-0 advantage.
Mobile got a chance to equalize after Ogbonna was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty. Ogbonna coolly finished the penalty to cut the Fire lead in half, 2-1, in the 67th minute.
Mobile nearly equalized in the 76th minute after Hosford played the ball to Kengeye on the left attacking side, but Kengye’s shot deflected wide off a Fire player.
Minutes later, despite calls for offside from the crowd, Oliver got in behind the Mobile defense and nearly regained the Fire’s two-goal lead, but he was unable to convert.
In the 87th minute, AFC Mobile’s Sherman Winchester headed a ball off the crossbar. Two minutes later, Winchester played a nice ball to Ogbonna who chipped the ball over the Fire defense, but he couldn’t get a shot off.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Ogbonna headed in a goal off an AFC Mobile free kick, leveling the game 2-2. That goal was Ogbonna’s sixth of the season.
“I never give up. As a team we keep fighting to the whistle. We never give up. We keep fighting.” Ogbonna said.
AFC Mobile will be back at home next weekend to take on the current Gulf Coast Premier League Eastern Conference leaders, Gaffa FC of Jackson, Mississippi. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July, 1st. We will be honoring Mobile’s soccer history by throwing back to the 1990s when the Mobile Revelers ruled the pitch! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details! All tickets are just $5, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted for free.