ATWATER -- Things looked bleak for the Atwater High boys soccer team.
Despite having the better run of play in the first half on Wednesday the Falcons produced nothing to show for it. To add to their frustration, Turlock pounced on a goal early in the second half.
It changed the game's dynamic and, with just five minutes left, Atwater hadn't produced anything to challenge goalkeeper Aldo Rodriguez in the second half.
With the Falcon offense stymied, it appeared only a Bulldog mistake could deny them the win. That's exactly how it played out in the 78th minute.
An illegal throw-in gave Atwater the ball deep in Turlock territory. Adalberto Guzman hucked the ball as far as he could into the Turlock box, getting a flick at the near post.
Ben Belmonte soared at the far post, heading the ball back into the middle of the six-yard box where Jonathan Trillo was the first to react. The junior side-footed home the equalizer earning Atwater a 1-1 draw at Falcon Field.
"A draw is obviously better than a loss, but we've got some things to work on," Atwater head coach Jimmy Brewer said. "We're doing a good job with possession, and obviously we've been able to make that work.
"But we don't have the energy or sense of urgency on offense that we need. That critical touch or willingness to make a run in the final third isn't there."
It was definitely missing in the first half.
Atwater (0-0-2 Central California Conference, 5-3-4) outshot Turlock 7-4 in the opening half, but didn't really test Rodriguez (five saves) until the 36th minute.
Guzman worked a pretty give-and-go down the right wing before forcing Rodriguez to make a diving save.
The Bulldogs (0-0-1 CCC, 4-1-3) made the Falcons pay for their lack of finishing, taking the lead just nine minutes into the second half.
Jose Aguilera found himself free in the middle of the Atwater 18. Falcon keeper Efrain Ulloa (seven saves) made a diving stop, but Alan Trellas was there to put the rebound into an open net.
It looked to be enough until Trillo struck in the 78th minute.
"I thought we played all right in the first half, but we didn't have enough energy," Trillo said. "The offense is still improving.
"We're not all used to moving the ball at the same pace, so once we get on the same page we should be fine."