Late MMA Goal Produces Tie in Johnson

JOHNSON, Vt. — Johnson State College and Maine Maritime Academy played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in North Atlantic Conference (NAC) men’s soccer play at Minaert Field.  In the conference-opener for each side, a free kick resulting in a score for MMA’s Abdullah Alkhayyat (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) with just :02.9 remaining in regulation allowed the visiting Mariners to force overtime where neither team would score.  The Badgers move to 1-3-3 overall, 0-0-1 NAC while Maine Maritime is now 3-3-2, 0-0-1 NAC.

In a very evenly played match, host Johnson State would strike first in the 25th minute when freshman Lucas Fitzgerald (Morrisville, Vt.) collected a nice crossing pass from classmate Nicholas Earle (Monkton, Vt.) and beat MMA keeper Jeff Butland (Cumberland) back to the near post for a Johnson lead at 1-0.

There the score would remain through halftime and late into the second stanza setting the stage for nifty strike from Alkhayyat.  MMA would make a run up the left side of the field when a Mariner was fouled just outside the penalty box.  Alkhayyat took the free kick and tucked it inside the far post over the outstretched arms of Johnson keeper Ryan Belen (Northvale, N.J.).

Johnson would put a pair of shots on goal over the two overtime periods but neither team could break through giving each team a tie in their first NAC match.  The Badgers would own a 19-12 shot advantage and a 5-1 corner kick edge for the contest.

Belen was active and aggressive throughout the match making six saves while Butland stopped four Johnson shots on goal for Maine Maritime.


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