Saints drop heartbreaker on soccer pitch

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GOLDSBORO - Charles B. Aycock claimed its fourth regular-season sweep of county rival Southern Wayne since 2016 on the soccer pitch Tuesday evening.

This one, however, stung just a little bit.

The Golden Falcons controversial penalty kick 24 minutes into the second half and tripped up the Saints, 2-1, at the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex.

Deadlocked at 1-1 through roughly 30 minutes, the county and Eastern Carolina 3A-4A rivals had players collide as they chased a loose ball inside the 18-yard box. The Saints appeared to gain possession when the melee ended.

The midfield referee, instead, awarded a PK to Aycock.

Senior midfielder Zack Naughton ripped a laser to the near post to give the Golden Falcons a one-goal advantage.

“A 50-50 ball and he’s got to make a decision on which way it goes and he called it their way, so unlucky,” SW head coach Jeff Sullivan said.

Southern Wayne (1-4-0 overall, 1-4-0 ECC) regrouped and challenged the Golden Falcons the remainder of the contest. CBA keeper Austin Dilda made one save on three second-half corner kicks attempted by the Saints.

Confusion inside the 6-yard box led to the game’s initial goal.

Players from both teams pinged the ball around until multi-sport athlete Edwin Perez chested the ball and knocked it toward the net. Somehow, it rolled past an outstretched Dilda, who just missed a glove finger save.

Aycock (6-2-1, 4-2-1) collected the equalizer two minutes before halftime. Naughton drove home an unassisted goal after he beat a Saint defender toward a loose ball just outside the 18.

Naughton’s two-goal performance boosted his season total to 13 and career total to 45.

Saints goalie Edgar Castaneda logged eight saves between the pipes for the Saints, who are 5-11-1 against Aycock since 2011. The Golden Falcons are an impressive 36-8-4 against county opposition since 2011.

“I thought we played great,” Sullivan said. “We played possession soccer, which is exactly how they should play. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose.”

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