MURPHYSBORO — Murphsyboro fell behind 3-0 with 13 minutes left in the first half, but rallied and held Pinckneyville scoreless in the second half to finish with a 4-4 tie in a non-conference boys soccer game on Monday.
"The boys have heart," said Murphysboro coach Michael Lydy. "We were a little out of it in the first half and made some mental errors. They played very hard in the second half, despite being tired. I have only a couple subs and I played 14 out of 15 with one being injured. It is what it is. It’s also 90 degrees with a heat index near 100."
The game was between two teams going the opposite directions with the Panthers having lost three games in a row and the Red Devils on a three-game winning streak after losing their season opener, 9-0 to Carbondale.
"We gave that game away," said Pinckneyville coach Jay Ray. "I think we got a little excited going up 3-0 and took our foot off the gas."
After Pinckneyville (2-5-1) had taken a 4-2 lead at the half, Murphysboro got a break 8:52 into the second half when the Panthers’ Will Epplin was called for pushing David Taylor inside the 18-box setting up a penalty kick. Taylor then pumped it past Panthers tri-captain Grant Tanner.
The Red Devils kept the pressure on Tanner, and six minutes and 34 seconds later, inside defender Marco Gaona scored his second goal of the season to tie the score with 24:34 remaining in the game.
"Coach told me to move up to the center of the field and I got the ball after the keeper distributed it and missed all his players," Gaona said. "I passed the ball to my forward Efrain Lemus and he gave me a give-and-go back. The keeper was right in front of me, but I just curved it around him into the right side of the net."
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Murphysboro kept on the attack missing an excellent chance to take the lead 2:11 later on a give-and-go between one of the four Red Devils captains Bryan Portillo and Aren Abell. Abell’s shot from the right side barely missed the left post.
Then with 11:26 remaining, Tanner made a big save on Taylor and again on the rebound by Omari Morris. Murphysboro’s last chance for the winning goal came with 2:44 left on a break by another of the Red Devils captains Alan Rulfo, but his shot sailed over the net.
Pinckneyville scored first at the 13:34 mark on a goal by one of the other tri-captains Ben Restoff assisted by the last tri-captain Derek Rohlfing. Less than five minutes later, Luke Chapman scored on a rebound of his own shot that Red Devils goalkeeper Jett Hayes had made the initial save on.
With 13:14 left in the half, Restoff and Chapman got behind the Murphysboro defense for a two-man breakaway. Chapman took a short pass from Restoff and pulled Hayes to his left before passing to Restoff on the other side for the goal.
Fifty-four seconds later, Portillo scored on a great give-and-go with Lemus to cut the lead to two goals with 12:20 remaining in the half.
Murphysboro cut the lead to one with 4:37 left on a goal by Lemus off an assist by David Taylor. But nine seconds later, Rohlfing chipped the ball over the surprised Hayes to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead.
With 1:45 left before intermission, the Panthers were on the attack again, but Hayes made a save on a point blank shot by Epplin to keep the score at 4-2 at the half.