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Flames Fall to High Point, 2-0
The visiting High Point Panthers defeated the Liberty Flames, 2-0, Saturday afternoon in a meeting of the Big South's highest scoring teams in a conference men's soccer match at Osborne Stadium, Saturday afternoon.
Liberty falls to 2-2 in Big South action and 6-4-1 overall. High Point moves to 3-0 in conference and 8-2-1 overall, the best start at the Division I level by the Panthers.
After the Flames opened the contest with a header by Timothy Bullock in the 5th minute, High Point got on the scoreboard. Panther forward Shane Malcolm fired a shot, which hit the right post and rebounded out. Off the ricochet, the ball hit the back of Liberty midfielder Chris Phillips and went in net, giving High Point a 1-0 advantage.
The Panthers kept on the attack and looked to extend its led in the 16th minute. Midfielder Fejiro Okiomah lined a shot from the right top corner of the 18-yard box, hitting the near post and bouncing away.
Liberty took control of play over the next 15 minutes of the half, starting with a corner kick in the 28th minute. Midfielder Juan Niño's kick found the head of defender Uriah Bentick on the far right side of the box. Panther defender Adam Sewell moved back on the goal line and stopped the attempt with his shoulder, keeping the Flames off the scoreboard.
In the 30th minute, Flames forward Darren Amoo launched two attempts at the High Point net. After his initial attempt was blocked by a Panther defender, Amoo gathered the rebound and ripped a shot, which forced the first of two diving saves by High Point goalkeeper Michael Chessler.
The half closed out with a shot by forward Karo Okiomah in the 36th minute, which was turned aside by Liberty netminder Paul Gilbert.
In the second half, the Flames went on the attack, using pinpoint passing to make a shot opportunity for Bentick in the 57th minute. After give and go passing with Amoo, midfielder Phillip Aseweh put a crossing pass into the near side of the penalty area for Bentick, who headed the pass towards the far right corner, causing a diving save by Chessler.
Liberty kept pushing forward in search of the equalizer. After two High Point shots went by midfielders Fejiro Okiomah and Scott Rojo om the 82nd minute, the Flames were able to get the ball to Amoo, who fired a shot from the top of the box high in the 84th minute.
The Panthers sealed the win in the 89th minute. After a foul in the midfield resulted in a free kick, High Point midfielder Rojo was able to push a pass from the left side of the field into the right side of the 18-yard box for fellow midfielder Shawn Sloan. Sloan dropped a pass across to the left side of the penalty area for Karo Okiomah. Catching the Flames' defense out of positions, the Big South's leading scorer slipped the ball in open net for his ninth goal of the year and the 2-0 final.
High Point outshot Liberty, 16-14, in the contest, while corner kicks were even at five apiece.
Gilbert record two saves in the Flames net. Chessler made three saves in recording his fifth shutout of the season.
Liberty hosts the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels at Osborne Stadium in a non-conference, Tuesday night at 7 p.m.