PENSACOLA, FLORDIA – AFC Mobile pulled off a stunning 2-2 draw against the Gulf Coast Texans of Pensacola. Heading into the match, the Texans were atop the Gulf Coast Premier League Eastern Conference table.
“Any time you come into one of the top of the table teams and come away with a point on your away game, I mean, it’s huge, especially the way things have kind of ended,” said AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas.
AFC Mobile dominated the match early on, creating more chances and holding more possession than Pensacola. In the 15th minute, Clairy Kengeye chipped the ball over a compact Texan back-line to Chisom Ogbonna, whose shot was saved by Texan goalkeeper Rudy Seelmann. Five minutes later, AFC Mobile’s Jackson Barber juked the Texans’ left back and sent a low cross in front of the goal to Martin Fiemawhle, whose shot hit the crossbar.
In the 24th minute, the tide turned as Dillon Gallet, the Gulf Coast Texans’ leading scorer and GCPL Golden Boot leader, found himself pushed nearly to the end-line on a counter attack before bending the ball into the goal from an incredibly difficult angle, giving the Texans a 1-0 lead. Gallet’s goal completely altered the momentum of the game through the remainder of the first half.
When the second half began, the Texans came out firing on all cylinders. AFC Mobile keeper Elijah Gibson made three spectacular one-on-one saves. Then, in the 53rd minute, AFC Mobile’s Markos Mallis sent a cross into the penalty area that Ogbonna converted off a header to bring the score to 1-1.
Just minutes later, Gallet struck once more, heading the ball over Gibson off a long throw in to give the Texans a 2-1 lead, putting Mobile again on their heels in the 57th minute. From there, the game became bogged down in the midfield before resuming late with back-and-forth action. Both Mobile’s Gibson and Pensacola’s Seelmann came up with several saves to smother out promising attacks from both sides.
With time winding down, AFC Mobile earned a free kick on the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute. Fiemawhle stepped up to take the kick and put it on frame. Greg Hosford attempted a bicycle kick on the rebound, which was blocked by a Texan defender. Off the second rebound, however, Hosford connected with a gutsy scissor kick, this time scoring the tying goal in the 70th minute.
From there, the game continued at a breakneck pace. In the 85th minute, Kengeye took a shot from 40 yards out which could have given Mobile the lead, but it passed just wide of the upper 90. Then Gibson made yet another acrobatic one-on-one save in the 87th.
“We were able to kind of see the game out…come back from being down a goal twice, score goals. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” Nicholas said. “Obviously we want the win, we had the chances to win. We are playing an attacking brand of soccer and it should be fun for the fans to watch. So happy with all the fans at the last home game, but we have three [home games] in a row and we are going to need them.”
AFC Mobile will host a three-game home-stand, the first of which will be against the Louisiana Fire at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex on Saturday, June 24th. Kickoff will be at 7:00 p.m. Join us as we honor the educators of our community with our first ever Teacher Appreciation Night! All school employees with ID will be admitted to the match against the Louisiana Fire free of charge. As always, kids aged 12-and-under get in free and all other tickets are just $5.