With his team on the road at Cleveland, Garner soccer coach Jon Sherwin became a little worried in the game’s final minutes that he was experiencing déjà vu.
Déjà vu, in French, means “already seen” and just the night before Sherwin witnessed his Trojans give up two goals in the game’s final minutes to lose by one.
However, after giving up a goal with seven minutes remaining and clinging to a one-goal lead Wednesday night, Garner was able to hold on for the 3-2 nonconference victory over the 3A Rams.
“The first three games were all 4-3 scores,” joked Sherwin, worried that the Rams would make it a fourth game with such a score line with a possible late flurry. “I was a little bit nervous when they got that second goal with seven minutes left.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
But after Fed Planchon headed home a Brett Koehmstedt cross off of a free kick with 7:14 to cut the Garner lead to 3-2, the Rams were unable to generate another serious scoring chance the rest of the game.
Cleveland (1-3) was forced into playing from behind after a pair of first half goals were generated by crosses into the box to unmarked Trojan players.
“We’re just a couple mistakes from being where we need to be and hanging with those upper-level teams,” Cleveland coach Fabrizio Bonilla said. “We can get those under control by just practicing better and taking that practice onto the game field.”
Over the past couple of seasons, most of Garner’s goals have come directly from crossing the ball from the wing into the penalty box. But Sherwin noticed this was an aspect of the game this year’s Trojans still needed to focus on after opening 1-2 on the season.
Having called his team’s attention to getting the ball out wide and then sending in playable crosses, Garner heeded its coach’s instructions.
First in the 23rd minute of the first half, Zach Hancock laid a perfect cross onto the feet Thomas Dinka who slyly placed the ball past Cleveland goalie Giovanni Solis.
Then, just 32 seconds before halftime, senior midfielder Marco Perez sent a daring cross into the box that was flicked into the goal by Alejandro Carbajal.
“The last couple games, we’ve struggled getting the ball out there (on the wings) and then, when we do get it out there we don’t make the good cross,” Sherwin said. “Tonight we concentrated on the midfielders finishing them and the outside (players) crossing them.”
Cleveland got on the board first when Planchon dropped the ball to Jorge Gonzalez to change the point of attack and Gonzalez obliged with a cross to the far post that was one-timed into the back of the net by Lawson Lamm.
Perez tallied what turned out to be the game-winner 10 minutes into the second half when Junior Ayala found him streaking down the left side of the box and the senior calmly knocked it home for the 3-1 lead.
For Cleveland, it was the third loss of the season to a 4A team but Bonilla likes where his team sits with four more games to jel before entering conference play.
“I think it’s coming along,” added Bonilla. “They’re getting comfortable with each other. Now, we’ve just got to find some leaders out there.”