Pinecrest Kickers Beat Laney
The Pinecrest boys advanced to the fourth round of the 4A state soccer playoffs for the third year in a row with a 3-2 home victory over Laney Tuesday evening.
The Patriots’ Dane Nelsen scored the opening goal for the fourth-straight match. Teammate Gray Anderson scored the other two on headers. The next opponent for the 10th ranked and 18-5-2 Pats will be Harnett Central (19-3-1), a 3-0 winner over Hoggard, at home on Friday or Saturday.
Nelsen fought for a ball sent into the Buc penalty box by Taylor Morton in the 15th minute of the match. He had four or five touches before knocking the ball past the goalkeeper. Anderson made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute when he supplied all the power on a header off a gorgeous chip from the opposite side of the field by Chris Sanders.
In the 29th minute, the Bucs’ Stephen Cone pounced on a Patriot turnover about 25 yards from the goal and unleashed a shot that deflected off a Patriot player into the net, making it 2-1. About four minutes later, Anderson was left alone again at the far post. He had only to take aim this time on a hard cross sent into the penalty box by Justin Mace. The emphatic finish made it 3-1.
It stayed that way until the 70th minute when Mike Walsh took a Buc corner kick from the right side. The ball traveled to the far side of the penalty area. John Gupton headed it back into the goal mouth where tall Buc defender Matt Johnston headed it into the net, making it 3-2.
In the final half minute, a free kick from about 30 yards away by Walsh was deflected tantalizing wide of the near post by one of the Patriots. The resulting corner kick by Walsh with eight ticks left on the clock was volleyed safely away by Anderson as time ran out.
Laney finished the season with a record of 12-9-1. Harnett Central, the No. 1 seed from the Greater Neuse Conference, is currently ranked No. 11.
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