AFC Ann Arbor went down early on, but regrouped in the second half and secured a late point at home after Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match James Vaughan converted his spot kick deep into stoppage time.
It was a physical match from the start. Both sides were looking to assert their dominance, but after just 7 minutes Milwaukee converted from a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead.
The goal shifted the match tactically. Milwaukee looked content to get men behind the ball and keep possession for much of the match. This left opportunities to counter attack and The Mighty Oak worked hard to try and take advantage.
Despite the effort, and several gilt-edged chances, the sides went in to half time with Milwaukee leading 1-0.
Ann Arbor began the second half aggressively, pressuring the ball and looking to find ways in behind the Milwaukee defense.
The physicality only increased as the game wore on, and both sides saw several players issued yellow cards for the efforts.
In the 74th minute, the match looked to be turning Ann Arbor’s way, as Alec Lasinski earned a penalty kick. Yuri Farkas stepped up, and hit the ball with a lot of pace, but was unlucky to see his effort ricochet off the post and stay out.
Despite the miss, The Mighty Oak kept the pressure on until the final minute and deep into stoppage time Kaleb Jackson was taken out in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and with Yuri subbed off, James Vaughan took control. Vaughan made it look easy and sent the keeper the wrong way, leveling the match at 1-1.
The action wasn’t done yet, however, as Ann Arbor created three good chances, the last of which from a corner. Jimmy Fiscus climbed well and his header flashed over the bar. The referee blew the whistle and the sides shared the points.
Coach Rudland took several positives from the match, most notably saluting the sides’ mental toughness throughout.
“You give away an early goal, you don’t find a way to equalize before half time - it’s frustrating.” He said.
“It would have been easy for our guys to mail it in [after Yuri’s penalty hit the post. So, I thought our perseverance, our resilience, and our ability to continue to fight was excellent. I give the guys a lot of credit for that because late in the game it would have been easy to just kind of sit in and say ‘Hey, it’s not our day.’ But we didn’t do that. “
NPSL play continues at home Saturday, June 24th as The Mighty Oak take on FC Indiana at 7:00 pm.