Coweta Cup Soccer
East Coweta boys battle through another one-goal game
by Chris Goltermann
East Coweta’s boys soccer team has been an eyewitness to its share of disappointments in one-goal soccer games this year.
But Wednesday’s Coweta Cup game against Northgate wasn’t one of them.
The Indians went ahead late in the first half on Cole Antley’s tally in the 35th minute of play and then held on against a never-quit Vikings team for a 2-1 victory at Newnan High’s Drake Stadium that clinched this year’s Cup trophy for East Coweta’s boys.
It was the Indians 10th one-goal game of the season while improving to 6-7 overall. The team went through a stretch of five straight one-goal losses between late February and mid March.
East Coweta — which welcomed head coach Todd Beldon following the birth of son No. 5, Bryce, just moments before the opening kickoff, never trailed on Wednesday, striking first on Nick Martin’s goal in the 10th minute of play.
Yet the lead didn’t last long enough for the Indians.
The Vikings (5-5-1), who battled through the finish, responded immediately when Stephen Baxley connected from the right of the Indians net in the 26th minute, tying the game at 1-1. East Coweta continued to keep pressure on Northgate keeper Cooper Morrison, who was at Antley’s mercy on the Indians’ final go-ahead goal.
From here, both Morrison and East Coweta keeper Chad Holland traded saves in a one-goal game through the final 45 minutes of regulation.
Northgate had consecutive opportunities to tie the game midway through the second half, with Holland punching a ball out of the air in the 56th minute.
Viking Brandon Stahl then put his foot into a strike beyond the box that clanged off a piece of Holland and the crossbar with 20 minutes to play.
East Coweta tried to keep up its pressure in Northgate’s end, including a great individual effort by Jairo Ruiz while dribbling in between defenders inside the box. Shuffling it toward teammates, the play ended without a shot with just under 15 minutes in the game.
Northgate had two final chances to tie the game come up short in the closing seven minutes on a free kick that bounded left of East Coweta’s goal and another shot that was fired over the crossbar.
The Vikings return to play on Friday to close the annual county tournament with a game against Cup host Newnan at Drake Stadium.
INDIANS 2, VIKINGS 1
Northgate 1 0 — 1
East Coweta 2 0 — 2
Goals: Northgate — Stephen Baxley; East Coweta — Nick Martin, Cole Antley.