Soccer -- Warriors fall to Patriots
By David Williams
Published in Sports on September 23, 2004 1:56 PM
Eastern Wayne soccer coach Jorg Wagner preached the phrases to his team all night.
"Open up ... keep the ball on the ground ... one more touch ... no turn, no turn ..."
Wagner was offering his tutlelage to a Warrior squad that was in the middle of a tough mid-term exam as Eastern Wayne faced Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference leader West Carteret Wednesday night.
The final score, a 4-3 Patriots' win, did not mean the Warriors flunked the exam. But Wagner knows the lessons learned fro mthe match will make his team better as the season progresses.
Eastern Wayne fell behind 4-1 before fighting back for two goals to close the gap and scrambling for the rest of the game to get the equalizer tha never came. The Warriors struggled to mark the quicker Patriots, but found a way to slow them up with solid midfield play and a patient, one-touch offense that allowed forwards to run on to the ball.
"They changed their midfield around (at half) and changed their forwards," said West Carteret coach Matt Graham. "They sort of played a different offense -- that fast break. It kind of wore us down a little bit. We had some problems in the moidfield, our midfielders got real tired. They definitely forced the pace on us. They did really well. They are going to be competition for the conference championship."
"We're playing five guys in the midfield, and we were able to touch and run with the fast forwards and put on a lot of pressure with our back line," said Wagner. "We touch the ball up to the next man up, and with the extra midfielder it worked out fine."
West Carteret came out quickly, pressuring the Warrior defense with their speed and agility. just four minutes in, Chad Compton took a corner kick right into the box some five yards across the goal mouth. Brian Tomon was perfectly placed in front and headed the ball easily by goalkeeper Stephen Stackhouse for a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors equalized at the 9:20 mark of the first half as Eastern Wayne' midfielders patiently one-touched the ball up the left side as Bobby Gambella, Andrew Corley and Dustin Smith set up Joe Gossett on the left side. Gossett's shot popped off the left post, but Gossett collected the rebound and blew it by keeper Zach Nixon for the 1-1 tie.
Ten minutes later, West Carteret hit on a breakaway by Joey Riso. Stackhouse foiled the first shot, but the rebound popped loose and Riso stuck it past Stackhouse on the right side at the 19:59 mark.
The Patriots extended their lead with 13 minutes left before halfltime. Steven Schlaefer collected a ball after a penalty kick was headed away. In front of the box, Schlaefer beat Stackhouse to his right and the Patriots took a 3-1 lead into half.
West Carteret (5-3-1, 3-0) jumped out to a 4-1 lead four minutes into the second half as Tomon got loose and buried a 35-footer to the right side of the net. The three-goal lead seemed to loom large at the Little Big Horn.
But Eastern Wayne (5-3, 2-1) stuck to its attack, and it slowly began to pay dividends.
At 6:20 into the second half, Eastern Wayne took an indirect kick off a hald ball toward the net, and David Hook finished it off with a blast inside the box that found the net.
Eleven minutes later, the Warriors tightened up the deficit even more as Bobby Gambella took in a punched-away crossing pass and fired it by the keeper's right side at the 18:10 mark.
"You've gotta credit Hook and Gambella for those shots," said Wagner. "They got us back in the game."
From there, the Warriors kept trying to get their offense through a scrappy Patriot defense. The rest of the game was played in the midfield, with Eastern Wayne failing to tie the match off a corner kick with five minutes left, and two penalty kicks with less then three minutes to go.
"The last two or three minutes were hectic," Wagner said. "They were able to shut us off late. Once we remembered what we were supposed to do and where we were supposed to be, we had our chances. But West Carteret has a lot of good team speed and are very well organized in the back. There was no simple shot to be taken. Nothing was easy. When the goalkeeper fell down there was still a guy there sweeping the net.
"If we had played defense like that, we'd have come out of here with a 3-0 win."
Stackhouse ended the game with six saves, while the Patriots' Nixon notching eight.
The Warriors meet Southern Wayne in Dudley on Monday, then host North lenoir Tuesday.
West Carteret 3 1 -- 4
Eastern Wayne 1 2 -- 3
WC -- Tomon goal, assist Compton 2:50 1st
EW -- Gossett goal, assist B. Gambella, Corley, Smith 9:20 1st
WC -- Riso goal, unassisted 1st
WC -- Schlaefer goal, unasssited 16:15 1st
WC -- Tomon goal, Weeks assist 3:53 2nd
EW -- Hook goal, unassisted 6:20 2nd
EW -- Bobby Gambellla, unassisted 18:30 2nd
WCart E Wayne
13 Shots on goal 13
2 Corners 4
2 Offsides 3
7 Fouls 5
Saves -- Stackhouse 6, Nixon 6.
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