Lee’s Summit North goalkeeper Colin Dooley believes he should have left Titan Stadium on Wednesday night with a shutout.
One official thought otherwise, touching off an incident that may have rattled even the most level-headed of soccer teams.
Dooley had stopped a penalty kick early in the second half against Lee’s Summit West, but the assistant referee ruled he had stepped forward off his line. The Titans retook and made the PK, sending Dooley to the bench after a heated argument drew a yellow card.
North still led by a goal, but the Broncos have not handled similar situation well this season. This time, North took a deep breath, settled down and finished off a 2-1 victory against West in a Suburban Gold Conference showdown.
“I’m actually very proud of my team for that, because we have a problem with playing down,” Dooley said. “We have a problem with facing challenges and our coach said this was the first time we handled this very well, and that is a huge step for us.”
North (8-3, 4-1 Suburban Gold) led 2-0 when defender Duncan Crosby was whistled for pulling down a West player in the penalty area 5 minutes into the second half. Drew Meara took the first penalty kick and aimed for the left corner, but Dooley swatted his shot away at the left post.
That’s when the official said he saw Dooley move forward off his line, which goalkeepers aren’t allowed to do on penalty kicks. West (4-3-1, 2-1 Suburban Gold) was awarded a rekick, and Cole Perry sent the ball past Dooley into the middle of the net.
“I find it hard to believe that he came off the line,” North coach Ryan Kelley said. “The AR (assistant referee) is right there and I have to trust he got it right, but I think that was a really tough call.”
A furious Dooley offered a few choice words to the referee, resulting in a yellow card.
“We practice PKs every day,” Dooley said. “I’m a hundred percent sure I didn’t move forward.”
North midfielder Brennon Larsen also earned a yellow card for dissent after West’s controversial goal.
It was starting to look all too familiar to Kelley, but North soon regained its composure and West never had a decent shot at the goal the rest of the match, even without Dooley in net for 6 minutes.
The Broncos ratcheted up the pressure on the Titans’ forwards, keeping them from receiving long passes from midfield.
“After that little adversity the guys really bounced back,” Kelley said. “We’ve kind of struggled with that when the match becomes difficult. When things don’t go our way, sometimes we have the tendency to kind of go individual and just try to do too much outside of what makes our team successful. But I thought tonight we did a pretty good job of getting back on track and getting settled back into the match.”
North had control of the match early, scoring its first goal 5 minutes into the game when Parker Allen got a through ball in the box and fired a shot inside the far post. The Broncos made it 2-0 a few minutes before halftime when Mitch Petersen tucked in a rebound off a shot by Kyle Rock during a flurry of activity around West’s goal.
Then came the PK tries and, Titans coach Chris Brizendine said, a missed opportunity to get back in the game.
“We talk about winning the first 10 minutes (after halftime) and technically, we did,” Brizendine said. “You would hope we would be able to change momentum, but North responded well and kept the pressure up. They had the run of play in the second half.”
Dooley was grateful for the win and eager put the PK incident behind him.
“At the end of the day, we beat West and this is a big conference win,” Dooley said. “And that’s all that matters.”