Despite their second half efforts, the Lambton Lions fell in their season opener to the visiting Conestoga Condors on Saturday afternoon at the Lambton College Soccer Field, 3-2.
Saturday was a tale of two halves for the Lions. The first half was a feeling-out process for the newly formed group, while the second half showcased their potential for the 2019 campaign.
“Our whole goal, we talked about getting better,” said Lions Assistant Coach Adam Lakey. “We want to get better as every game progresses and as the season progresses.”
“The first half we didn’t get the start we wanted, but I couldn’t be prouder of the performance we got in the second half.”
In the first half, the Condors were the much better team. They seized momentum in the opening minutes with a header that found the back of the net. Conestoga would add two more goals before the half was out, staking themselves to a 3-0 lead after the opening 45 minutes.
During the break, the Lions received words of encouragement from Coach Lakey, but also from one of their newcomers. First year defender Andrew Moxley was vocal in the halftime huddle to get the team motivated for the second frame.
Whatever was said during the break worked, as the Lions looked like a different team down the stretch.
First year striker Dwayne Lambert-Cadore was an impact player throughout the second half. With his agility and competitiveness, he was causing problems for the Conestoga defenders and goalkeeper from the moment he stepped onto the field in the first half. Lambert-Cadore would be rewarded for his efforts, finding the back of the net for the Lions’ first goal of the season to cut the deficit down to 2-1.
The comeback efforts were in full force following Lambert-Cadore’s goal. Lambton kept applying pressure to the Condors, but the visitors seemingly had an answer at every turn. That was until Juan Galindo Jr. was awarded a free kick from just outside the box.
Using the wall in front of the keeper as a screen, Galindo Jr. curved the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to bring the Lions to within one with time left to complete the comeback.
Conestoga turned up the pressure once more to try and hold off the Lions down the stretch. The Condors were awarded a penalty kick of their own in the closing minutes, but Lions keeper Ky Duong came up with a crucial save to keep the deficit at one.
The Lions continued to fight down to the final whistle, but they were unable to complete the comeback. When the dust settled, the Condors picked up a 3-2 win to complete the Saturday sweep on the road for their soccer programs.
“In the first half, we started off a bit rough,” said Lambert-Cadore following the game. “In the second, I feel like we came out with a lot of pressure to try and out-hustle our opponents.”
“First game jitters are out now, and we have a few things to work on at practice this week.”
Lambton will have a week of practice ahead of their next game to iron out the wrinkles and to further their team chemistry. The Lions will head on the road for a pair of games next weekend, opening with an afternoon showdown against the Sheridan Bruins on September 14th.