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Spartans salvage tie at Weston Ranch
Duran scores equalizer in 74th minute for Lathrop
Weston Ranch goalie Jose Andrade gets full extension on this block from point-blank-range Thursday in the Cougars 2-2 tie against Lathrop.

WESTON RANCH -- A first half goal from William Giron would not hold up for the Weston Ranch Cougars Thursday, as the Lathrop Spartans would tie it up in the 63rd minute and again moments after Weston Ranch’s second goal in a 2-2 Valley Oak League draw.

Cougars goal keeper Jose Andrade went down with an injury and Lathrop answered immediately, attacking the box and putting a shot on the back-up keeper who was unable to secure it and to stop Gilberto Duran’s following shot.

Duran’s goal tied it 1-1 and it was stay deadlocked until Weston Ranch’s gathered a perfect corner-kick and fired home a rocket to lift the Cougars back on top 2-1. But before Duran could completely get the grin off his face Lathrop was attacking.

A successful attack at that, stretching the back of the net with Duran’s second goal of the half and the game’s second score in the 74th minute.

“I just asked for the ball and I saw they were sending it through,” Duran said. “When I saw the ball it passed and I gave it a good run.”

Duran’s goal came with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. About four minutes of scoreless time was added on before the clubs heard the whistle of the 2-2 draw. The draw likely stunned the Cougars more due to losing their 2-1 lead in less than 20 seconds.

“Credit to Lathrop, they played a good game and they came out and out-hustled us in the second half,” Weston Ranch co-head coach Julio Madrigal said. “Overall, if we finish our chances from the beginning this game is not anywhere close as it is.”

Lathrop’s effort, or lack thereof, in the first half did not hurt the Spartans as a lackadaisical effort sometimes can a club. Lathrop just simply had to play better, and over the match’s final 40 minutes the Spartans were definitely able to do that.

The Spartans got a terrific second-half effort from keeper Masseeh Khairzadah as did the Cougars from Andrade. But leaving the field with their third tie of the VOL season is not something that the Spartans are pleased with.

“Not really,” Lathrop head coach Lenny Lial admitted when asked if he was pleased with the draw. “Not that we were taking them for granted, but we wanted to come in really aggressive and the goal was to finally get up on a team as opposed to playing from behind.

“Everytime we’re getting down; we never give up, but we’re constantly playing from behind.”