Darien erases two-goal deficit to tie Danbury as McMullin scores twice
Updated 2:56 pm, Thursday, September 29, 2011
DANBURY -- With both teams riding multi-game winning streaks (four for Darien and two for Danbury), the Blue Wave (5-0-1) and Hatters (2-2-1) engaged in a wild affair at Danbury High School Monday afternoon. The game saw a two-goal lead erased, five yellow cards issued and a game-tying goal on a penalty kick in the final minute.
After battling back from a 2-0 hole to take a 3-2 lead with 12:24 remaining, Darien was charged with the task of trying to keep Danbury at bay for what would have been a dramatic come-from-behind road win and would have given the Blue Wave five straight victories.
More InformationFact box
However, with 47.9 seconds remaining, a wild scramble in front of the Darien net resulted in a penalty kick for Danbury's Brian Rebelo. Rebelo beat Darien goalie Jack Fisher for the equalizer.
"I thought we played well. I think that maybe in the past these boys wouldn't have come back," Darien coach Jon Bradley said. "It's a shame that it had to finish the way it did. I didn't think it was a penalty, but the ref gave it."
Danbury got on the board first when Jordan Warren capitalized on a rebound opportunity to send the ball past Fisher for the 1-0 advantage with 21:28 remaining in the first half. Six minutes later, Danbury added to its lead when Andre De Sigueira scored on a second rebound goal to go up 2-0.
Less than four minutes later, Darien answered back with a goal of its own by capitalizing on a corner kick. Matthew Collier sent the ball toward the Danbury net, and Eliot Helgans settled the ball down and beat Danbury goalie Paulo Rey-Frank to cut the Danbury lead in half.
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Danbury's Luis Fajardo narrowly missed scoring on a header, and the score remained 2-1 at the break.
Darien required just over five minutes to tie the game in the second half, as Spencer McMullin scored his first of two goals. McMullin was the recipient of a deft pass by Collier between two Danbury defenders and was off to the races on a partial breakaway. McMullin's shot struck the bottom of the crossbar before finding its way into the back of the net to knot the game at 2-2.
But McMullin wasn't done. With 12:24 remaining in the contest, McMullin took in a pass from Jonathan Gill and scored his second goal of the game to put his team in front for the first time at 3-2.
"[Collier] gave me a great ball. I saw the goalie coming out a little bit, so I poked it over him and it hit the crossbar and went in," McMullin said. "On the second goal, [Gill] laid it off to me and I ran in and tapped it with my left foot."
Darien's Aidan Hickey made an outstanding defensive play with about eight minutes left to briefly preserve his team's lead. Hickey reacted quickly to kick a short-range Danbury shot away from the Darien net.
Despite the heartbreaking -- if not controversial -- nature of the game-tying goal, Darien still took some solace in earning a tie on the road against a tough FCIAC opponent, especially after trailing by two goals.
"You always try to look on the bright side, but it is tough when you think you have it," McMullin said. "When we lost to Westhill 7-1, we decided that we weren't going to let that happen again and that we would keep it up no matter what."
It was later revealed that Westhill was forced to forefit its win against Darien due to the use of an ineligible player.
"It still means we're unbeaten in our last five. It shows some character to come back from 2-0 down to be up 3-2," Bradley said. "I think they've shown what they can do now. Overall, I'd say it was a fair result. I thought it was quite an even game; no team was that much more dominant than the other one."