By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE – When rivalry games come along records get thrown out the door. That is what makes what happened on Friday night, Jan. 12, between the Lindsay Cardinals and the Strathmore Spartans possible. Strathmore entered the contest one game below 500 on the season. Lindsay entered the contest having only lost one game thus far this season. However, it was the Spartans who came away with the upset 3-2 (2OT).
“We knew this game was going to be tough, but we were prepared for it,” Strathmore head coach Jimmy Madrigal said.
With three minutes left in the second ten-minute overtime period both teams were deadlocked 2-2. The Spartans (6-6-1, 2-0) went on the attack, and got a free kick deep inside the Cardinals (7-2-2, 1-1) zone. Luis Lopez took the kick, and put it on point for a charging Enrique Gomez, who headed the ball into the net for the game winner.
“That was my goal, so I just focused on it and headed it in,” Gomez said. “We played as a team and that is how we got this win.”
This is the Spartans second overtime win in their last two games. Two days earlier in their East Sequoia League opener they defeated the Granite Hills Grizzlies 2-1 (OT). Yet, that game was quickly put behind them. All that mattered was taking down the six-time ESL Champions.
Coach Madrigal’s game plan revolved around putting pressure on the Cardinals. From the opening whistle that is precisely what they did, and quickly paid off. Three minutes into the game on the Spartans second attack Luis Prado took the ball deep into the Lindsay zone. Then from the near side of the field let a shot fly toward the goal. The ball bounced off the far post and in which gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
It was not long before the Cardinals got their feet under them, and began to attack. In the 21st minute Lindsay got their first real scoring chance of the game. Given a free kick just a foot outside the top of the penalty box Marcos Ceballos put it in the top right corner of the goal. The game stayed tied at 1-1 for the rest of the first half.
In the second half Lindsay began to control the mid-field, and it led to Emiliano Corona scoring to give them a 2-1 lead. It was their first of the game as Lindsay looked to put the win away.
For the most part it look as if Lindsay would be able to until there was 11 minutes to go in the game. Strathmore sent a corner kick into the box, and the fight for the ball began. In the midst of the chaos Lindsay’s keeper got taken out of position. That allow Genaro Gutierrez to score to tie up the game 2-2.
“That was a defensive lapse on our part, and they took advantage,” Lindsay head coach Tony Godoy said.
This is only the second ESL loss for the Cardinals in the last three seasons, and both came against Strathmore in Spartan Stadium. However, Godoy is confident that his team will be ready for the rematch on Jan. 30.
Until that time both Strathmore and Lindsay had some other games. The Spartans traveled to play the Woodlake Tigers last night. The Cardinals hosted the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears last night. Both games went final after press time.