Fullerton battled until the end of the 2-1 loss to Golden West on Tuesday. Tensions were high and tempers flared in this match where seven yellow cards were handed out.
There were hard impact collisions from the start where both teams fought for possession of the ball.
Fullerton goal keeper and team captain Jonathan Negrete shouted instructions across the field to keep his players in position. The Hornets had good communication in the first half.
Golden West began to dominate and held possession of the ball over the Hornets which led to some close calls at the Hornet goal.
Negrete was not afraid to charge out of the goal towards oncoming players. There was a close call in the 14th minute when a ball was hit off the FC post and was barely grabbed in time.
Golden West had constant pressure on FC’s defense and kept penetrating downfield to put more shots on goal. The Hornets were forced to make quick decisions in order to get around the speedy defenders.
The first yellow card came in minute 22 to the Rustlers. The hard hitting match proceeded with more shoves and slide tackles that resulted in several penalties. Both teams were playing rough but stayed tough and kept the game going.
Fullerton’s first shot on goal came in minute 27. The match continued back and forth but Golden West still held the upper hand. Every time FC took the ball up for a run the Rustlers found a way to stop the drive.
The match went into the half tied at 0-0.
The second half brought more aggressive play and the refs kept stopping play to warn players. Both teams came out with intensity. Another yellow card, this one against FC, came in the 55 minute.
When Golden West player, Noe Corona, scored the first goal in the 57 minute tensions rose even higher.
There were shouts from the stands telling Hornet players pass to the line and to pick it up. The teams fought for the ball ferociously, even out of bounds.
In minute 70, Golden West forward Alvin Ballesteros scored to make it 2-0.
As the minutes passed Fullerton got frustrated and started matching their opponent’s game plan.
“It’s not our style,” said Alex Perez, FC coach. “We needed to stick to our own game.”
FC plays a finesse style game but as soon as they lost sight of that it was a domino effect. There was a lack of communication on the field and the players started losing their cool.
Fullerton fired back at the 80 minute mark with a goal scored by center-midfielder Victor Nodal.
“They were playing rough,” Nodal said. “We just needed to check into the game.”
Golden West was last year’s conference champions. Despite this, the Hornets challenged the Rustlers for everything.
There were whistles for offside, handballs, penalties and all around roughing. It lead to three yellow cards against Fullerton and four yellows to Golden West. There were no ejections.
“We just didn’t do our job,” Perez said. “I hope this opens our eyes as to what we need to do to make it in conference.
“It was a wake-up call for us,” Negrete added. “We need to step it up.”
The team captain said that they could have done better, but he knows they are good enough to make it far if they keep working hard.
“We are the team to beat right now,” Negrete said.
The Hornets play host to Irvine Valley College on Friday at 3 p.m.