North Branch, NJ -- The Golden Lions overcame a first minute goal against and battled to a 1-1 draw against the Brookdale CC Jersey Blues.
RVCC has struggled throughout the early season giving up the first goal and continued that trend inside the game's opening minute. A lack of defensive pressure in the middle of the pitch and loose marking at the back allowed Brookdale's Stefan Bard through on goal unopposed. Ryan Hamblin made the initial block but Bard drilled the rebound into an empty net to put the visitors ahead only :56 into the game. Brookdale almost went ahead 2-0 later in the half, Dave Werner racing back to clear a ball off the goal line with Hamblin beaten to keep the deficit at only 1-0. RVCC shook off the slow start and began to create opportunities in the attacking third. Facundo Galante gathered a loose ball at the top of the penalty area but his soft shot failed to test the keeper. Despite a 7-3 advantage in shots, RVCC forced only one strong save from Brookdale's goalkeeper and trailed by a goal heading into half.
It was again Erick Hernandez who got the goal for the Golden Lions. Raul Otayza played Hernandez in on goal and he calmly slotted home his 4th of the year to knot the score at 1-1 in the 64th minute. RVCC got strong performances from Shubhi Oberoi and Tony Chapparo throughout the game, Facundo Galante continued his solid play in the middle of the pitch but it was missed chances in front of goal which haunted the Golden Lions. Jhaliyl Stewart was twice through on goal, losing his footing on a bone dry pitch then forcing a good 1v1 save from Brookdale's keeper after his first touch took the ball just too far out of his feet. Both teams created chances late, Ryan Hamblin diving sharply to his right to save a close range Brookdale shot but the half ended deadlocked at 1-1.
RVCC was the stronger team in overtime but squandered chances in front of goal denied the Golden Lions a second win. Erick Hernandez ran onto a Ryan Hamblin punt but rolled his shot wide of the left post. Two minutes later, Tristan Gadson-Rigby got on the end of an entry pass and shot just wide of the far post with the goalkeeper beaten. Late in extra time, Raul Otayza hammered a free kick over the bar without threatening the Jersey Blue's goal. Despite holding 6-2 advantage in shots in overtime, the Golden Lions failed to convert their chances and the match finished 1-1.
Ryan Hamblin finished with 6 saves, Jhaliyl Stewart led the way with 5 shots, 3 on goal for the Golden Lions. RVCC (1-3-1) hosts Camden County College (11-0), currently ranked #3 in the nation, on Saturday, September 27th, kickoff is at 1pm.