Rowdies let a great story get away in draw

by Gary Shelton on May 15, 2016 · 0 comments

in general

Joe Cole energized the Rowdies' lineup from the start./ERIC TILLOTSON

Joe Cole energized the Rowdies' lineup from the start./ERIC TILLOTSON

Sunday, 5:30 a.m.

There for a second, the story seems to be written by fate.

The new guy lands in the new world. He leads his new team to a win over a new franchise. Just like that, an old star is reborn. Joe Cole has become Joe Cool.

Alas, the referee waved off Tommy Heinemann's goal — on a pass from Cole – in the 87th minute Saturday night, keeping the Rowdies from a memorable comeback victory. The Rowdies

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took a 1-1 draw against Rayo Oklahoma City.

But it could have been sweeter. Cole, the longtime star in the

Lightning fans seem to take to Joe Cole even in his first game./ERIC TILLOTSON

Rowdies fans seem to take to Joe Cole even in his first game./ERIC TILLOTSON

English Premier League, arrived in the country only  on Tuesday. Coach Stu Campbell planned to limit him to 60 minutes, and even Cole said it would have been sensible for him to leave after 70 given the travel, the newness and the humidity of the evening.

As it was, it was a solid debut by Cole, who had good things to say about his barely known teammates.

“It seems the official didn’t blow his whistle,” said Heinemann. “I think he was counting off the yards for the wall. But it didn’t throw the defenders off. They were defending. The players were just on a different page than the referee.”

Oklahoma City took a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute as Matt Pickens jumped to catch the ball in front of his own net. But when Pickens came down, he hit teammate Tamika Mkandawire and lost the ball. Michel tapped the ball in for Oklahoma City.

Heinemann, who had started every other game for the Rowdies, entered in the 65th minute. Nine minutes later, he took a pass from Michael Nanchoff and broke free. His shot was touched by Juanan, and was scored as an own goal.

“I enjoyed it,” Cole said. “We should have won the game. But we’ll win more games than we lose, that’s for sure. I thought we were the better side.”

Matt Pickens tries to stop a goal after colliding with teammate./ERIC TILLOTSON

Matt Pickens tries to stop a goal after colliding with teammate./ERIC TILLOTSON

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