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Liberty Remains Unbeaten With 2-1 Win at Gardner-Webb
The win runs Liberty's record to 3-0 on the year, the first time the Flames have started a season 3-0 since 1997. Gardner-Webb drops to 0-3-1.
In a contest where shots came at a premium, the first half was mainly a defensive battle. Liberty managed five shot attempts in the period, while Gardner-Webb was held to two.
Trying to push the tempo, Liberty's Bumbut (Sr., F, Zaulau, Romania) came close to putting the Flames on top in the 24th minute, as the forward's first attempt of the night hit the post. The senior later forced a save by Bulldog goalkeeper Trent Kozman on a shot in the 38th minute.
Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb had seven corner kicks in the half, but was denied by a strong defensive effort by the Flames. Liberty keeper Paul Gilbert (Fr., Rockvale, Tenn.) only had one attempt reach him during the period, which he neatly pulled out of the air off a header by Bulldog Jarrett Jackson on a corner kick in the 31st minute.
The second half of play opened with the Flames jumping on the scoreboard less than two minutes into the period. Boateng (Jr., MF, Accra, Ghana) pounced on a loose ball 20 yards out and blasted a shot past Kozman at the 46:53 mark. The junior's first goal of the season gave Liberty a 1-0 advantage.
The Flames added to their lead, 15 minutes later. After a midfield battle for possession, Boateng found Bumbut on the wing with a pass, which the senior put into the lower left-hand corner of the net at 61:20 for a 2-0 Liberty edge. For Bumbut, Liberty's leading scorer thus far in the season, it was his third goal on the year.
Gardner-Webb cut the Liberty advantage in half, two minutes later. On a direct kick, Bradley Morrison lofted a shot over the Flames' defensive wall. The goal, the first of the season yielded by Liberty and keeper Gilbert, halted the squad's scoreless streak at 243:18.
After the goal, Liberty's defense shut down the Gardner-Webb attack, allowing only a solo shot the rest of the way, wrapping up a 2-1 victory.
In the contest, the Flames outshot the Bulldogs, 9-5, while the Bulldogs held a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Each goalkeeper had two saves apiece in the contest. Bumbut led all players in the match with four shots, while Boateng had three for Liberty. Miguel Pizon led Gardner-Webb with two shots.
The Flames, in the midst of a four-game road swing, travel to Wilmington, N.C., next weekend to participate in the UNC Wilmington Soccer Classic. Friday afternoon, Liberty will square off against the College of Charleston at 5 p.m. in the first game of the tournament and Sunday, will face tournament host UNC Wilmington in the classic's final game at 3 p.m.