Solomon Wheatley had a goal taken away from him when the Panthers game against Saint Leo was postponed on Friday after the field became unplayable. On Wednesday, Wheatley got that goal back, as he scored the game-winner 69:48 into the game, giving the Panthers a 2-1 win over Florida Southern at Rick Stottler Field.
The Panthers (6-1, 3-0 SSC) had to come back in this one, as the Moccasins got on the board 6:50 into the contest, taking advantage of a turnover by Florida Tech on a throw-in.
The ball came to Christoph Gums, who pushed it in, surprising Panthers goalie Christopher Page. He was unable to react, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. James Smith got the assist.
It took FIT some time to get their bearings, but they got things going when Evan Enders made a nice pass to Brandon Smalley, who found Per Henrik Nag cutting in. He knocked it past Mocs’ goalie Benny Yusufoglu, tying the game at one, with 20:44 to go in the first half.
That goal seemed to energize the Panthers, who were on their heels following the Florida Southern goal but bounced back nicely as the half went on. Josh Thomas was awarded a corner kick with just over 11 minutes to go in the half. The Panthers missed a golden opportunity there, as they had a good chance but were unable to punch it home.
The two teams went to the half tied at one, but the late charge by Florida Tech gave them the momentum. They had six shots in that first half, three of them on goal.
Florida Southern (4-3, 2-2 SSC) got the first good chance of the second half, as they got a shot on Page just over four minutes in. He was up to the task, keeping the visitors off the board. The Panthers had a great chance of their own moments later on a shot by Hugo Lopez.
Smalley had a great individual effort with 24:45 to go, as he hurdled a defender and got into the Moccasins end before he eventually came up empty. A header by Stian Hagboe Olsen moments later hit the crossbar and you could see the Panthers getting set to break the tie.
They did just that with 69:48 elapsed as Wheatley snuck it under Yusufoglu, who was forced to make a save just a moment before and was still laying on the Stottler Field turf. Jan Hlavica was credited with an assist on the tally.
The Panthers ended the night with 14 shots, five on goal. Five of the Mocs’ six shots were saved by Page, who played a good game after being caught off guard by that early goal. Florida Southern held a 4-3 advantage in corners.
Florida Tech will hit the road Saturday, taking their four-game win streak to Daytona as they take on Embry-Riddle in a Sunshine State Conference matchup. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.
The match against Saint Leo that was postponed on Friday, will be played Tuesday, October 10 at Rick Stottler Field. Please make note of that change and get out to support the Panthers.
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