By Jeff Linville
DOBSON — Surry Central’s soccer team improved to 3-0 with a nail-biter against Starmount Monday night.
After two blowouts to open the season, the Golden Eagles had a war on their hands with a tough Rams team.
“We hadn’t played them in a while, but they are a stout 1A team,” said coach Blake Roth. Starmount (2-1) is “a heck of a squad” that could go deep in the playoffs.
The Eagles beat East Surry 9-0 last week, then beat Elkin 9-0 over the weekend. Starmount beat East Surry 10-1 and beat North Surry 6-1, so Roth knew the Rams would be tough.
Just seven minutes in, Central scored off a free kick from newcomer Miguel Tello.
Then the two sides battled for more than 20 minutes without a score before Starmount tied it up.
The Rams sent a blister from the righthand side that crossed in front of the keeper and hit the leftside netting for a 1-1 tie.
In the second half, the Eagles came out firing at the goal, said Roth. The home team kept up the heat and sent ball after ball toward the goal.
However, the Rams’ tight pressure prevented the Eagles from getting off clean looks. The results were a lot of balls that just missed the target.
There were a couple of shots that just went over the crossbar, said Roth. Then one did hit the crossbar. Another bounced off the left post.
The Eagles had a score in the 68th minute that was waved off because of a hand ball violation.
Finally, Central broke the tie.
Justo Cristobal received a pass from Adrian Gonzalez on the right side. Cristobal beat the keeper near post for a 2-1 lead.
Roth said his team had a couple more chances after that, but couldn’t add an insurance goal.
While the Rams played hard, the visitors never got a shot on target in the closing minutes.
In the closing seconds, Justo had the ball and fired off a shot from 45 yards out, said Roth. The ball went over the keeper’s outstretched arms and into the net, but time had expired before the ball reached the box.
The Eagles (3-0) go to West Wilkes today, the first of a two-game series that has the Blackhawks coming to Dobson next week.
Sandwiched between those two matches, the Eagles will host Ashe County.
Ashe knocked Central out of the playoffs last year, Roth reminded, so he would love to get a little revenge on his good friend, coach Wes Rousseau, and the Huskies.
In the Elkin game Saturday, Roth said Julio Sanchez really shined. Sanchez had two goals and two assists in the 9-0 win.
The Eagles had five goals in the first half and four goals in the second half to end the match early on the mercy rule.