Entering the final home match of their inaugural season, the Dalton Red Wolves were looking for a bit of revenge.
After allowing late goals in their previous two matches with South Georgia Tormenta FC 2, once resulting in a 1-1 draw and the other in a 3-2 defeat, the Red Wolves took the field at Christian Heritage School on Tuesday night determined to earn a victory and three points in the standings.
"We felt like we owed them a result here tonight, so to come out and play well against these guys is good for us," Red Wolves coach Drew Courtney said.
The match was halted in the 62nd minute due to lightning in the area. After waiting more than an hour for the weather to clear play resumed, and after the final 30 minutes were played the Red Wolves earned the 2-1 victory in full time. The win moved the Red Wolves to 7-4-1.
"Our guys were really pressing and we felt like we knew the opposition well tonight. We made some good adjustments to put ourselves in a good position 61 or 62 minutes into the match," Courtney said. "We really wanted to get the result in 90 minutes."
Though Tormenta seemed to have more of the possession through the the first 62 minutes of the match, the Red Wolves withstood the attacks and were able counterattack when opportunities presented themselves. Dalton used a set piece in the 17th minute to begin the scoring, when Adam Zayed finished after controlling a loose ball in the box following a cross. Tormenta tied the game in the final minute of the first half, when former Dalton High School standout Kobe Perez finished on a rebound to make the score 1-1.
Prior to the weather delay, the Red Wolves again took the lead in the 59th minute when Montel McKenzie scored on a beautifully placed chip over the Tormenta goalkeeper from 25 yards out.
With several starters from earlier in the season missing due to previous commitments, Courtney said the Red Wolves' depth became essential.
"Other guys just step up," Courtney said. "We've talked about our depth all summer and you're seeing the effect of it right now, we're up 2-1 with some other guys."
The Red Wolves now have two away matches remaining in the regular season. With playoff chances slim, Courtney said the remaining games still provide opportunities for the players to compete.
"We want these guys to continue to compete, whether we're playing dice or playing football," Courtney said. "It's easy to get up for these matches, but how do you keep guys focused for training sessions throughout the summer? You make little adjustments and you pull guys aside and explain to them the areas we would like to see them work on today. You really just lay it out for them, a plan for growth."