The UNC-Greensboro Spartans were set up to play against University at Alabama Birmingham on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., but the game had been postponed due to the hurricane that is coming through North Carolina. The game was moved to Saturday at 12:00 on a nice and sunny day with a bit of wind and cloud cover. It was an incredibly exciting game with multiple shots and ups and downs throughout the game but it finished out in a 2-2 tie with 3 of the 4 goals happening in the second half, not including overtime.
The first half of the game was rather dull with only 5 shots, all coming from the spartans offense, along with all 5 corners kicks as well. The spartans had decided to go with a 4-3-3 formation. Coach Justin Maullin talked about this strategy.
“We wanted to press them, set the tempo of the game for ourselves usually when we sit in we don’t start well, so we wanted to start fast go with the 4-3-3 we wanted to deny their service because they play very direct, they play an ugly style of soccer, so we wanted to force them to play and deny the long ball.”
But only one of the shots were on target and that was the one goal scored in the first half at the 43rd minute. The goal was scored by Casey Penland and was assisted off of a corner kick by Leeroy Maguraushe. That was virtually all of the action that was seen in the first half aside from some fouling but no cards were given out during the half.
In the locker room at halftime, Maullin said this to the team after a solid first half; “Were better [than UAB], stay on the front foot start to play a little more direct and if we get the ball down in the final third and play quick with it they can’t match us and we’ll win the game 2, 3 nil.”
The second half was very exciting with 3 goals scored, a total of 21 shots throughout the half, and 9 saves. The second scorer for the spartans was Faisal Almubaslat who scored in the 77th minute. The 2 goals that were scored for UAB were scored by Massimo Ferrin one in the 58th minute and the second in the 78th minute. There were back to back goals scored by both teams in the 77th and 78th minute and when asked about it in a post game interview Maullin said this “… he just failed to clear it and they capitalized on an easy chance I thought the goals we gave them were true gifts, they didn’t earn anything today.”.
Then during the final minutes of the game the Spartans were on the attack.The last five minutes of the game were very busy: two very questionable no-calls, one of them being a clear hand ball and the other being an attacker was pushed down — both happening in the box. Maullin had this to say about the controversial calls after the game: “The referee was adamant it wasn’t a penalty, what we saw was that he got thrown to the ground we saw a handball, but again I’m not the referee in live time and gotta respect his call.”
Along with this happening in the final minutes the spartans when on an all out attack in the closing seconds and tallied about 4 or 5 shots in the final minute of regulation, Maullin said “I thought we were gonna win it, I think we’re the better team we’ve got more quality than UAB, and I felt confident in our guys that we were gonna win it in regulation.” After the game had gone into a rather calm overtime after the game finished off being tied at 2-2 with only 5 shots being taken in overtime, 4 by UNCG and 1 by UAB.
The Spartans next upcoming game is an away game against UNC Asheville on September 11th at 5:00 p.m., and the next home game will be against Campbell on September 17 at 7:00 p.m.