Late goals end Lions’ chances, 2-1

McALISTERVILLE – Friday night’s Allegheny Christian Athletic Association soccer match at Juniata Mennonite had all the makings of an instant classic when the undefeated Meadowbrook Christian boys went up against the up and coming hometown team.

In a game that had all the making of a postseason battle, the two teams fought to the final minutes of the game before a victor was decided.

Things looked good for Juniata Mennonite as it took a 1-0 lead down to the 10-minute mark.

But Meadowbrook came up huge with two late goals to take home a 2-1 victory at the Juniata Mennonite soccer field.

“We played well. The team strength that we have is that we don’t quit,” Juniata Mennonite coach Kurt Wagner said. “When we’re down we don’t quit when we’re ahead and you saw that tonight. A couple bad marks in the back and we let a goal go in that should have went in from where it was shot so I can’t complain too much about that.

“The team effort is there. We need to keep improving,” he said. “That is one of the things we worked on from day one was just to improve play-by-play and day-by-day and game-by-game and we’re doing that. We are catching up to some of the guys that are tops in the league.”

Both teams played hard from the very beginning. After a first period full of close calls, goalie saves and nailbiting tension, neither team was able to take an advantage as they went into the intermission scoreless.

In the second half, Juniata Mennonite took possession of the game, forcing the Meadowbrook Christian defense into committing a corner opportunity for the home team.

Despite the missed shot on the corner, the ball stayed back in the Meadowbrook back third.

However, Meadowbrook was able to take back control of the ball and just missed a scoring opportunity when Tyler Baughman lined up for a corner opportunity and sailed a shot to Garrett Gessner. Gessner’s header sailed wide left, keeping the game scoreless.

After the close call, Juniata Mennonite got the ball to forward Tony Gehman. Gehman cut his way through the back line and lifted a shot that bounced off the crossbar and out.

Minutes later Gehman was back at it again but this time he squeezed it through, giving them a 1-0 lead with 31-minutes left.

Despite everything that Meadowbrook threw at it the next 15 minutes, Juniata Mennonite was able to keep the visitors from finding a seam and tying the game on one shot.

Unfortunately for Juniata Mennonite, you can’t keep a good team down for long.

With 17 minutes left in the game Meadowbrook’s Dakota Pickett caught a pass from Austin Scott with 17:23 left to tie the game.

Scott from Marcus Betzer ended the scoring for Meadowbrook, making the final score 2-1.

With the loss, Juniata Mennonite falls to 5-4 in the league.