BELDING — It was a goal. Then it wasn’t a goal.
Regardless of the controversial finish, the Belding Redskins defeated O-K Blue rival Coopersville 2-1 on Thursday at Rudness Field as part of the week long B Foundation “Pink Week.”
The Redskins dominated the first half, but brought new meaning to the term hold on in the second half.
Leading 2-1, off a Coopersville corner kick, a dangerous play was called inside the Belding goal box. Coopersville was awarded an indirect kick and promptly scored the game tying goal with just 7:48 remaining in the game.
Well, not exactly. That’s when the controversy began.
“The officials didn’t signal whose ball it was right away, so we didn’t know how to set up right away,” Coopersville coach Garrett Mitchell said. “Our midfielder had his foot on the ball. When he pulled his foot off and another guy shot it, they (officials) determined they didn’t see the first guy touch it.”
An indirect kick requires two offensive players to touch it before a shot on goal. The second touch can be the shot.
“They (officials) had come together to huddle to discuss the play,” Mitchell said. “Belding took the goal kick, which is what should have happened after a no goal and took off playing while the officials were still talking.
“The officials never stopped the clock or the play. They apologized it was poorly managed and agreed it actually should have been a goal after the game,” he added.
With under one minute remaining the Redskins fought off another Coopersville scoring chance.
The Broncos were awarded another indirect kick inside the Belding goal box with about 55 seconds remaining. On the first pass, Belding freshman Christopher Ornelas intercepted the pass to break up the play and preserve the victory.
“Chris Ornelas came out very smart,” Belding coach Blaine Kemme said. “The first guy put the ball in play and it was a real heads up play on his (Ornelas) part.”
With just seconds remaining, Coopersville probably rushed the play without asking for proper separation from the ball and the defense. That allowed Ornelas to get in on time and deny a shot on goal.
“When there is a restart from a deadball it’s up to the offensive team to ask for the required 10-yard separation from the ball,” Mitchell said. “If we decide to take a quick kick we can do that. The officials don’t have to give them the 10 yards unless the ask for it.
“Our guys took the quick kick, trying to do what they had just done and it didn’t work out,” he added.
The win was the first in Belding’s soccer program against Coopersville.
“By far this is our best job of controlling the ball, moving with the passes and guys being open this year,” Kemme said. “It was a tremendous job from several players out there. This by far is the best total game we’ve played this season.”
Ornelas scored the opening goal for the Redskins. With 16:21 remaining in the first half, Ornelas sent a high arching shot into the air from about 40 yards. With the help of a solid west wind, the ball turned and dropped in the goal over Coopersville’s Jake Johnston.
Nearly nine minutes later, Lluc Cardoner rifled a shot past Johnston for what turned out to be the game winning goal.
“We kept the attack on and it resulted in our first win over Coopersville,” Kemme said. “It’s wonderful to get the win and I’m just thrilled for these guys and the effort they put in tonight.”
In between, Sergio Bautista-Santos made 12 saves for the Redskins.
“He did a nice job and made some excellent saves for us,” Kemme said.
Josh Lemieux scored Coopersville loan goal.
Jayson Tovar and Dylan Meyers each had one assist for Belding.
The Broncos fell to 5-6-1 overall and 3-3-1 in the league. Belding improved to 3-8 (2-5).
The Redskins travel to Comstock Park on Monday.