BOYNE CITY — It was more of the same last Thursday when Grayling made the bus ride to Boyne City for a Lake Michigan Conference clash, and the second meeting between the two teams this season. For the fourth time in as many contests, Grayling and Boyne City engaged in a tight boys soccer affair that could have gone to either side. In the end, it went to neither. The Vikings and Ramblers battled to a 1-1 standoff in a Lake Michigan Conference game. It’s been that way for the last couple of years, with the games being decided by just one goal. Boyne City has a 2-0-2 record over the Vikings the last two years. The Ramblers came away with a 2-1 victory over the Vikings in the third game of the season back on Sept. 1.
It lifted the Ramblers to an 8-4-2 record overall and 6-1-2 in the LMC, where they are second behind front running Elk Rapids, which is 10-2-4 overall and 5-0-1 in the league. Grayling has gone 1-3-1 over its last five games, and stands 5-3-1 in the conference and 7-3-2 overall.
Vikings take 1-0 lead at half The Ramblers were coming off a scoreless tie with Elk Rapids and bringing a lot of positive energy into the game. But the Vikings drew first blood, scoring 10 minutes into the game as Eliot Boik on a nice setup from Anthony Harrington. “I thought we dictated the play right from the start until we scored,” Grayling coach Andy Moore said. “For some reason we seemed to relax a little bit after we scored, and then Boyne kind of took over for awhile. “After a bit, we started to control the game again. It was one of those games where it was back and forth on who controlled the pace of play and the ball. We were ahead 1-0 at half. “Coming out of the half, we just had a breakdown. Boyne really took it to us. We didn’t adjust well, and they controlled the play for a good portion of the beginning of the second half.
“Both teams have chances in second half The Ramblers wound up scoring the equalizer about 15 minutes into the second half, and then the two teams exchanged rushes over the remaining time but neither could finish. Both teams had chances to score the go-ahead goal, but the goalies stood tall in net. Logan Cobb came up big for the Vikings with 15 saves, and preserved the tie.
Defensively, the Vikings had a mixed bag.
“We played well at times, and then we struggled at times,” Vikings coach Andy Moore said. “But, that could be because of the team we were playing. I thought the first half our defense really stood tall, and strong. “In the second half, especially in the beginning, we had some defensive lapses. The midfield is a work in progress. We change the lineup so often there. It’s hard for them to get used to a position, because I move kids around a lot, especially in the midfield. “Grayling plays Kalkaska at home Tuesday, and then travels to Charlevoix on Thursday.