When Mount Airy and North Surry competed earlier this season, the game went 79 minutes and 30 seconds without a goal. Fortunately for the Granite Bears, the other thirty seconds, which happened to be the first thirty seconds, featured a goal by Austin Tumbarello that gave the Bears a victory. Both teams had something to prove this time around. The Bears thought the margin of victory should have been more in the first meeting, while the Greyhounds looked for a different outcome than before.
The Granite Bears started the game controlling the pace. They tired out the Greyhound defense before attempting to penetrate the stout Hounds back line. North Surry fought to contain Tumbarello and avoid getting caught off-guard again, but they couldn’t tame the beast. As much as Grant Whittington kept Tumbarello under control in the beginning, the Mount Airy striker took a through ball from Julio Contreras and sent it flying into the back of the net.
Things went from bad to worse for the visiting team when almost immediately after the first goal, Mount Airy’s Robert Brown sent a free kick from nearly 45 yards out into the goal to put the Bears up 2-0. Mount Airy was all offense, and the Greyhounds struggled to put a run together.
North Surry didn’t fold. Vincent Hernandez battled Bear defenders to get into scoring position, but couldn’t put the ball away. Javier Vera attempted to send the ball into Bear territory for Joseph Rangel to chase down, but Jackson Tumbarello wouldn’t allow it. It wasn’t until nearly minute 26 that the Hounds truly threatened to score. A free kick from Vera put the ball on-frame, and it stayed on that end of the field for a while.
North Surry was visibly frustrated that they couldn’t contain the Bears. Cole Richardson received a yellow card and it fired his team up. Both teams played aggressive and fought for 50-50 balls. The Greyhounds nearly got on the board on a long throw-in that went through the Bears’ six-yard box, but they failed to get a foot on the ball. The Hounds spent the remainder of the half containing Mount Airy to keep the lead to two.
Whether it was complacency by the home team or a surge of energy from the visitor, the second half began to look like a different game. North Surry had more shots on goal in the opening 10 minutes of the second half than in the entire first half. The Hounds were winning 50-50 balls and turned the intensity up to 11. Vera and Kevin Hernandez made runs up the sidelines to catch Mount Airy off-guard. A free kick by Vincent Hernandez made Jesus Valadez dive to keep the Hounds scoreless.
On the other side, Mount Airy coach Will Hurley screamed for his players to wake up. They were a step slow to balls and left Greyhound players to win balls uncontested. Valadez had his work cut out for him keeping the lead safe.
A shift in momentum occurred when Mount Airy made a run and got fouled in the box, leading to a Bear penalty kick. Brown put the ball past North Surry’s Carson Draughn to put his team up 3-0. After this, the Greyhounds seemed to deflate, unable to create a threatening offense, but didn’t give up.
The revitalization of Mount Airy saw much improved midfield play by the Bears. Contreras and Jesus Lachino regulated the pace of the game. Contreras extended the lead to 4-0 with a cheeky left-footed shot outside the 18-yard box. Brown nearly completed his hat trick with a free kick in the closing minutes, but his shot was headed away by Whittington.
The determination of North Surry paid off when they received a PK with just minutes remaining in the match. Adrian Cabrera put the ball past Valadez to make the score 4-1. This goal is even more impressive when you consider the Bears have only allowed four goals all season prior to this match. But the goal was too little, too late as the Bears stayed perfect with win number 15.
The Granite Bears have little time to celebrate, however, as they host Ashe County Tuesday. North Surry looks to get back on track versus Atkins on Wednesday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith