No. 12 Lander rallies to knock off Alabama-Huntsville in thrilling opener

No. 12 Lander rallies to knock off Alabama-Huntsville in thrilling opener

GREENWOOD - The 12th-ranked Lander men's soccer team rallied for a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes, including the match-winner by Jordan Skelton with six seconds remaining, to earn a 3-2 win over visiting Alabama-Huntsville in front of 467 fans at Van Taylor Stadium on Friday night. 

The Bearcats (1-0) outshot the Chargers (0-1) 22-7 on the night and pressured Alabama-Huntsville with seven corner kicks. Jose Eduardo Bomfim, making his first career start in goal, went the distance for Lander, while Myles Fullen recorded four saves for UAH. The crowd of 467 fans was the fourth-largest in Van Taylor Stadium history.  

"My heart rate's still up a little bit," said head coach Lee Squires following the match. "We made life difficult for ourselves against a well-organized, dangerous Alabama-Huntsville team. We just dug in and some of our seniors started to take over in the second half. Sinclarie Sandy was absolutely unbelievable. Although it wasn't Jordan's best game, that's what an All-American and a leader and a captain does."

After a slow start, the Bearcat attack picked up steam late in the first half. The Bearcats finally struck paydirt at the 37:58 mark as Oliver Brock delivered a long corner kick to the far post and Ferguson sent a header off the post. The ball spun over the end line and bounced off the near post and back out into play, but Lander was ultimately awarded the goal after a quick conference by the referees. 

Alabama-Huntsville responded early in the second half as Khalil Bell took a misplayed ball on Lander's half of the pitch and rolled a shot inside the far post to even the score at 1-1 in the 51st minute. 

The Chargers took the lead for the first time at the 67:10 mark when Rafa Moreno drew a foul in the box and converted his penalty kick to put UAH ahead 2-1. 

Lander answered in the 79th minute when Sinclaire Sandy evaded a quartet of Chargers and flicked the ball deep in the box to Robbie Young. The sophomore then sent a pass along the line to Michael Leach, who buried the shot in the net to bring the Bearcats even. 

With less than a minute to go, the Bearcats earned their seventh corner kick of the night. Jamie North launched an arcing pass to the far post and connected with Jordan Skelton for a game-winning header with  just six seconds remaining in the match. 

Lander hosts Anderson Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Van Taylor Stadium.