The Birmingham-Southern Panthers broke a 1-1 tie on Martin DeVaney's goal with less than four minutes remaining to down the Liberty Flames, 2-1, Friday evening in Big South Conference men's soccer action at Liberty Soccer Field.
Birmingham-Southern got on the board early scoring at the 2:09 mark. Off a pass out by Karim Dietz from near the end line, Thimo Langner scored his sixth goal of the season on a shot from 10 yards out.
After both teams settled in, neither team would score for the remainder of the half despite several opportunities.
Liberty came close 31 minutes in as a Toby Lewis (So., F, Morrison, Colo.) header hit the crossbar and rebounded clear, while a shot by teammate Adrian Bumbut (Jr., F, Zalau, Romania) was stopped by Panther keeper Joe Nasco 36 minutes into the half. Meanwhile, Birmingham-Southern came close on a shot by Martin Zaluk from the top of the box 17 minutes into the match and Gino Cozzolino's shot in the half's last minute would both be stopped by Flames' netminder Kevin Mahan (Sr., Waterford, Mich.).
In a tightly played second half, Liberty would rally to tie the match at 85:43. After receiving a pass from Kyle Cupid (So., MF, Edinburgh, Trinidad) at midfield, Lewis would make a run, splitting the Panther defense and delivering the equalizer into the left-hand corner of the net. The marker was the forward's fourth of the season.
DeVaney then found the game-winner with less than three minutes remaining as he scored his first goal of the season off a pass from Langer. On night, Birmingham-Southern out shot Liberty, 22-12, while the Flames held the edge in corner kicks, 8-5.
Liberty's Mahan made six saves on the evening, while Nasco made three in the Panthers' net.
"It was a great, great Big South match," stated Flames' head coach Jeff Alder after the game. "Most of the Big South games are going to be a one goal game that could swing either way."
"Early in the game, I thought we were a little flat and that two week layoff really showed as we were not really in sync and it showed," continued Alder. "So, they got the early goal and we able to equalize with four minutes left, but unfortunately, we had a couple of chances to clear a ball out and they capitalized on the mistake."
"It's something that we feel we can fix because it is more of a mental error than a physical error. However, its something, we have to clean up if we are going to win a championship in November."
With the win, Birmingham-Southern moves to 7-3-1 overall and 4-0-1 in conference, while after seeing their first action in nearly two weeks to postponements of two games due to weather, the Flames fall 3-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in conference.
Liberty continues Big South Conference play this coming Wednesday by hosting Radford at the Liberty Soccer Field. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.