HARROD — Persistence usually pays off in the end.
For most of Tuesday night’s Northwest Conference boys’ soccer match against Allen East, Ada possessed the ball and took several good shots at Allen East goalkeeper Dalton Clum.
For over 79 minutes of Tuesday’s contest, Clum and company was able to stave off Ada’s offensive attack.
However, with 34.6 seconds remaining in the game, Ada’s Christopher Reyes got the opportunity he was waiting for.
On a free kick from the left corner of the 18, Reyes delivered a shot toward the goal. Teammate Isaac Spar managed to get a foot off Reyes’ pass and put it past Clum for the game-winning goal, giving Ada a thrilling 1-0 victory over Allen East at Goodwin Field.
With the victory, Ada improves to 8-5-1 overall and 3-1-0 in the NWC.
Allen East slips to 4-5-3 in all games and 3-1 in conference play.
“Those are the two guys (Reyes and Spar) who have a nice little hook on their shots,” Ada coach Jason Okuly said. “So, we try to have one of those two take those free kicks. A lot of times, they can bend them around the wall a little better. Unfortunately, Chris (Reyes) has been hurt — fighting a thigh injury. He was giving me a hard time the last five minutes (of the game). He was telling me, ‘Coach, let me back in there’.
“I said, ‘OK, you have five minutes. Let’s see what you’ve got’.”
And Reyes delivered.
“We were just hoping that someone would get a touch on it,” Reyes said with a smile.
Added Spar, “Chris sent the ball in and I was standing around the 10; and I just whipped it with the left foot. The keeper was out of position and it went right in the back of the net.”
Ada possessed the ball for a good part of the first half, and out-shot Allen East 6-1 in the first 40 minutes of action. Jon Allen had three of those first-half shots for the Bulldogs.
However, Clum came up with six saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless, heading into the halftime break.
For the game, Clum came up with nine saves.
Ada had 10 shots on goal for the game. Allen East managed to get off just three shots on the night.
A little more than 10 minutes into the second half, Ada’s Brendan Sheridan had a wide open shot from 20 yards away. Clum made a great save going to his right, to stamp out another Ada scoring opportunity.
Seven minutes later, Clum did it once again.
Ada midfielder Issac Williams hit a bullet from 15 yards out, and Clum dove to his left to stave away yet another scoring opportunity for Ada.
“I told them at halftime that we were dominating the game — the possession was there,” Okuly said. “It was our game to win, as far as we were concerned. We just weren’t finishing. I told them to keep their heads up and keep plugging away.