Late Score Opens Assault in 3-0 Win Over Widener
Chester, PA – Joshua Wood scored in the 80th minute to start a late Falcons' assault and lead Messiah to a 3-0 win at Widener. His score forced a change of strategy by the Pride, allowing Jeremy Payne and Danny Brandt to add goals in the final minutes.
The win moves Messiah to 16-1 overall and 7-0 in the Commonwealth. Widener falls to 5-8-4 and 0-4-3 in the conference.
The Falcons controlled territory from start to finish but were unable to get through the Pride defenders and keeper Jakob Valdner. They attempted 11 shots before half, seven of which went on net and were grabbed by Valdner.
Much the Falcons' inability to get on the scoreboard was due to Widener's conservative play in the midfield; the Pride's defensive focus, though limiting their own offensive opportunities, paid dividends into the second-half. Valdner even collected eight more saves on the Falcons' first 13 shots to help keep the game in a scoreless tie.
The Falcons finally broke through Valdner in the 80th minute off the foot of Wood. Payne beat his defender on the left side and approached the goal before crossing sharply to Wood for the score. The goal was his team-leading 16th of the season.
Not only did Wood's goal give Messiah the lead, it also forced Widener to push forward in an attempt to even the game in the final 10 minutes. The Falcons took advantage of that shift in strategy, scoring twice more in the final minutes. Payne's header off a cross from Jack Thompson made it 2-0 in the 86th minute and, moments later, Danny Brandt put in a shot from 12 yards out on the left side. Thompson also collected the assist on Brandt's shot to push his team-leading total to 12 on the season.
For Payne, the goal was his 12th of the season; Brandt's goal was his fifth.
Messiah finished with a 30-2 advantage in shots. It was their seventh-straight game launching 20-plus shots. They also out-cornered Widener 12-0.
Messiah will next play on Wednesday, Oct. 30 when they host Arcadia University at 7:00 p.m.