Fons Consheim evades the Cruzalemddy defenders en route to scoring the winning extra-time goal.

A golden goal from Fons Consheim ten minutes into extra time rounded off an excellent fightback by Athletic against Nicaraguan side Cruzalemddy FC at New Home Park this morning.

However with the match only five minutes old, it looked like it would have a completely different outcome, as the visitors raced to a 2-0 lead with a brace from João Fabiano Melo Alves.

Athletic pulled one back through Bruno Le Ber with eleven minutes played, but a minute later a foul by Mustafa Can Turkan on Dario Zintu saw the youngster limp off to be replaced by Andy Hautala.

Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Athletic struggled to break down the well organised Cruzalemddy defence, and it took until the fifty-ninth minute to finally make the breakthrough.

Yet another Athletic attack had been repulsed when the ball broke out to Jake MacConnechy. He slid the ball sideways to Oleg Zhigalov, and from the edge of the box, the Russian curled a superb shot beyond the reach of the visiting keeper and into the net.

Eldvinas Šumlinskas was making his comeback from injury, and it was at this point that Arjen Bogaert decided to replace the big centre-back with Fons Consheim.

Andy Hautala almost got on the end of an Igor Bulatov free-kick on the hour mark but the ball slipped agonisingly past, as did a shot by Danial Hasnaş in seventy-eight minutes as Athletic turned up the heat.

Oleg Zhigalov almost turned from saint to sinner with only seven minutes left as he almost gifted a goal for the visitors, but there was to be no further goals as the game went into extra time.

The game had slowed somewhat, and seemed to be edging towards stalemate when Fons Consheim picked up the ball on the left flank with ten minutes of extra time played.

The Cruzalemddy players backed off as he advanced, no doubt expecting the ball to be swung into the box, however Fons had different ideas and having evaded a couple of challenges cracked the ball into the net to give Athletic the Golden Goal.

Arjen was satisfied with the performance, but not with the defending for the two Cruzalemdy goals.

“We were given a stern challenge today, and that was good for the players. We have got used to steamrollering teams, so it was good for them to come up against a team as good as Cruzalemddy”.

He continued, “They caught us cold at the start, and we lost two bad goals. The boys did show a lot of character to come back from that, and deserve credit for that”.

When asked about Dario Zintu’s injury he said, “It doesn’t look too bad now that we’ve taken a look at it. Hopefully he’ll be back for next week’s match, but he will definitely be unavailable for Saturday”.