Southern Wayne’s Gavin Simmons looks to dribble past the Goldsboro defense and set up a goal-scoring opportunity.

DUDLEY — The Southern Wayne Saints defeated the Goldsboro Cougars on Thursday in a thrilling 3-2 match that came down to the wire.

Coming into Thursday night’s match, the Saints held a record of 2-0, and Goldsboro held a record of 0-2.

Early in the game, the Saints controlled possession, and looked just as dominant as they had in their first two matches of the season.

In the 20th minute of the match, their dominance in possession of the ball paid off, and Miguel Campuzano scored the first goal of the match to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.

Southern Wayne scored again just five minutes later with the goal coming from Damas Jean who scored off a well-placed cross from Edgar Castanedo.

With a 2-0 lead in just 25 minutes of play, it looked as if the Saints were on their way to another victory.

After scoring their second goal, the Saints attack slowed down, and instead of pushing for another goal they began to pass the ball in the backfield and tried to run out the clock.

The strategy did not pay off, and Goldsboro was able to create more attacking chances than they had earlier in the game.

In the 40th minute of the game, Goldsboro got their best chance to score when a Saints defender made an illegal tackle in the penalty box against one of the Cougars attackers.

The move gave Goldsboro a penalty kick, and Cabe Pate stepped up to take the penalty. Pate shot the penalty to the left side of the goal, and although the keeper guessed correctly, the penalty was placed too far into the corner for the keeper to make a save.

In the second half of the game, Goldsboro continued to create chances just like they had late in the first half of the game.

In the 54th minute, a Cougar attacker was once again taken down by an illegal tackle. This time it resulted in a free kick on the left side of the field way outside of the penalty box.

Pate stepped up to take the free kick for the team and scored what was one of the best shots of the season.

On the free kick, the Saints forward struck the ball toward the top of the goal where it bounced off the crossbar and went in for a goal.

With the game tied up at 2-2, the Saints almost immediately picked up their intensity. The team pushed the ball down the field toward the Saints side. Just one minute after the Cougars’ goal, the Saints reclaimed the lead at 3-2.

The goal came from Slysen Jean Baptiste who scored on a pass from Diego Vera-Arriaga.

After taking the lead, the Saints controlled the rest of the game. Even though they were not able to score again, they eliminated any chances of the Cougars making another score.

Southern Wayne head coach Luis Ramirez said that communication was the key for the Saints in their victory on Thursday night.

“(The key to our success was) good communication between each other,” Ramirez said. “We have been working on our communication during practice, and we are getting to know each other on a personal level.

“I think that really showed today because there was good communication between everybody.”

With the win, Southern Wayne improves to 3-0 this season while Goldsboro falls to 0-3. Neither team has played a conference match this season.

Southern Wayne will take on Goldsboro again Tuesday in Goldsboro at 6 p.m.