The Mighty Oak best Detroit City FC again, 1-0 to sweep their rival in regular season play for the second year in a row. Chris Odhiambo scored the lone goal in the 54th minute to help Ann Arbor bring back three points from Hamtramck.
“This is a good result for us and keeps us in control of our own destiny. We still have a lot of important matches coming up but we are still in a position to achieve our objectives,” said Head Coach & Sporting Director Eric Rudland.
Association Football Club Ann Arbor came into Keyworth Stadium atop the Great Lakes Conference with 17 points; Detroit City FC was sitting in third with 10 points. Both teams knew this was a pivotal game.
Smoke filled the first few minutes of the game as Detroit City came out in full force to support their squad. AFC undeterred by the atmosphere came out with high energy that lasted for the full ninety minutes. There was a definite big game feel in the stadium as both teams flashed moments of danger throughout the first half, the majority of which coming from the Mighty Oak.
In the 24th minute Michael Shaikly was fouled at midfield, Captain Jack Cawley took the free kick with little hesitation, as he saw Detroit City’s keeper off his line. Cawley’s shot was on target and narrowly saved.
Azzad Liadi (AZ), The Mighty Oak Man of the Match, was all over the pitch from start to finish. AFC Ann Arbor’s offensive push came through AZ, who was relentless on the ball. At the 40th minute AZ sent a corner into the box that was met by the head of Joseph Okumu. The header took an unfortunate deflection right to the keeper's hands and the game remained scoreless. The teams went into halftime knotted at zero.
That Mighty Oak defense, which has dominated all season long, continued to make their presence known into the second half, warding off every chance Detroit City had.
The defense was rewarded in the 54th minute when Serge Gamwanya was able to put together a nice one-two sequence with AZ near midfield to open up a path down City’s sideline. AZ made the run and crossed the ball into the box where Chris Odhiambo was able to get just enough of a touch on the ball to beat Detroit City’s keeper near post. The goal was Odhiambo’s first with the team and couldn’t have come at a better time, giving The Mighty Oak a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal tensions ran high between both teams with players from each side being cautioned by the referee. In the 62nd minute Novotny was able to punch away a dangerous corner in the box.
In the last ten minutes of play, AFC continued its attack with a decent attempt from Gamwanya that was just over the top bar. Not a minute later Odhiambo looked to add to his first goal with a beautiful touch in the box. However, he was unable to get solid contact with the ball.
Detroit had a chance to tie the game in the 82nd minute with a cross that bounced around in the box. Fortunately for AFC the Detroit striker was unable to get a centering touch on the ball as it bounced off his chest and out of bounds.
The win tonight earns AFC Ann Arbor three more points to help keep AFC atop the table and marked the fifth clean sheet for The Mighty Oak in NPSL play this season. AFC Ann Arbor’s overall record improves to 6-0-2 in the Great Lakes Conference. Next, AFC Ann Arbor will host Kalamazoo FC at Skyline High School Friday, June 15 at 7pm.