Pats Thrill Home Crowd With Last-Minute Goal
Commentary on this story on Tuesday's Headlines Podcast .
As the clock wound down to the final minute Monday evening, Pinecrest boys' soccer coach Larry Martin was concerned about his players.
In spite of taking 24 shots to Laney's six, a defensive snafu with five minutes to play allowed the visitors to draw even at 3-3.
"It seemed that the whole game, we worked hard for what we got, and then a bobble or some misjudgment on our part would allow them to score a goal," Martin said. "Some people might say we gift-wrapped it a little."
But with under 30 seconds left in the match, the Patriots moved into the attacking third for one last attempt to break the tie. Coby Kavanaugh tracked down a ball that was about to go over the left endline.
The junior used his body to bring the bouncing ball to his feet before swinging his right leg and lofting a ball over the penalty area toward teammate Matt Sessoms.
"It was beautiful," Sessoms said. "I saw it dropping down and I'm thinking, where am I going to put it?"
The clock showed 17 seconds after the senior powered a header off the glove of the Laney goalkeeper at the near post to the delight of the home crowd.
"What was exciting," Martin said, "was to see a go-to guy like Coby make a stellar play like that at the critical point -- do or die. He was entirely composed. Matt was in the right place at the right time. He had to finish it for the guy."
Ranked 15th in the first 4-A coaches' association poll, the Patriots improved to 2-0, while Laney dropped to 1-1-1. The Pats have a tough date at Fayetteville Academy this evening at 7 p.m. The state's first-ranked private school squad is 6-0-1.
Laney's lightning-fast Derrick Ferrar opened the scoring with a breakaway goal in the 26th minute. The Patriots tied it about seven minutes later on a shot from 25 yards out by defender Jordan Howlett that slipped inside the near post.
But with two minutes left in the half, Ferrar got behind the Patriot defense again. He was taken down from behind just inside the penalty area. Rennick Patterson converted the penalty kick for the Bucs, making it 2-1 at halftime.
"I give credit to them (Laney)," Martin said. "We started out completely dominating them, and it turned into an outstanding match."
Less than a minute into the second half, a Laney foul put the Patriots' Russell Stewart at the 12-yard spot. The senior converted, tying the match at 2-2.
It stayed that way until the 73rd minute when Sessoms hurled a long throw into the penalty box from the left side. Teammate Silas Cole flicked the ball to freshman Thomas Goulden, who volleyed it high into the net for a 3-2 Patriot lead.
The Patriot advantage didn't last long. Ferrar got by the defense one more time and found an open goal to deposit the ball in the 75th minute.
"He was very fast," said Bradley McKeever, who handled the goalkeeping duties for Pinecrest in the second half. "We had some bad communication in the back and that's why he (Ferrar) beat us."
Then came the final heroics by Kavanaugh and Sessoms.
Martin thinks that the way his team pulled the match out can be a positive for the team the rest of the season.
"I believe we can eliminate the mistakes and become a very solid defensive team, too," he said. "The kids worked hard for this and earned it. I would have hated to see any other outcome."
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