By Jonathan Deal
It took three full games for the Athens boys to score five goals against East Limestone last season. On Thursday, it only took the Golden Eagles two halves to accomplish the same feat in a 5-2 win over their rivals.
This Athens side might not be ranked No. 1, but the host team showed it has a knack for scoring with four unanswered goals to finish the game.
Harper Ward and William Mathews scored two goals each to lead Athens. Ward opened the scoring in the sixth minute on a one-on-one with the Indians’ goalkeeper to stake an early lead.
In the span of eight minutes, the visitors erased Athens’ lead with two quick goals from set pieces. Brad Moreau’s swerving free kick from 35 yards eluded the Athens defense and allowed Michael Jarrell to tap it in from close range to tie the score at 1-1.
Six minutes later, it was Jarrell who served the ball from a corner to give East the lead. Jarrell’s corner found the head of senior defender Matthew Meyer, who rose above a cluster of Athens defenders to score from six yards.
As quick they lost the lead, the Golden Eagles got it right back with a pair of goals from Mathews. The senior tied the score at 2-2 only 20 minutes into the game with a finish from close range and after a shot by Ward was blocked.
Ten minutes from halftime, Mathews scored the best goal of the bunch that also proved to be the game-winner. Mathews received a lobbed through ball, tapped it over two East Limestone defenders, ran past them and slotted home a low finish in the side netting to make it 3-2.
Ward gave Athens a two-goal cushion 10 minutes into the second half from an impossible angle. The senior hit an ambitious shot from the edge of the 18-yard box and along the goal-line, which spun off the goalkeeper’s hands and into the net.
Athens sat back and absorbed pressure the rest of the game, adding another goal 12 minutes before the match ended for the final score.
East Limestone 0
Defending 5A champion Athens showed they are still are No. 1 with an impressive win over No. 8 East Limestone on Thursday.
Athens took the game to East from the opening kick, winning 3-0 at home.
Riley Ridgeway scored the opening goal eight minutes into the game from a through ball along the right side of the box. Following several Athens chances to extend the lead, Kaitlyn Wise added the Golden Eagles’ second goal just before halftime.
East Limestone threatened several times after halftime before Athens scored its third goal. Ashley Ward and Ridgeway combined for a nifty 1-2 pass at the edge of the box, which Ridgeway calmly finished to put the game away with 14 minutes to play.