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Boys Soccer: East Bladen 2, St. Pauls 1

ST. PAULS – Freshman Malcolm Bolden fired in the deciding goal with under 10 minutes left to play that lifted East Bladen to a 2-1 Three Rivers Conference boys’ soccer victory over St. Pauls.

With the win the Eagles opened up a 2-game lead over the Bulldogs and Whiteville in the TRC standings. East Bladen is 8-0 in league play and 9-3-1 overall.

An early East Bladen goal was nullified by an offside call, and St. Pauls appeared to be offsides on their first goal but the officials ruled that play could continue since the Eagles played the ball to the offsides player.

The Eagles tied the game 1-1 when senior Gabe Barber hurled a throw-in to senior Jay McGill who knocked the shot past the keeper.

“I thought we had the better run of play in both halves, but they battled and never quit,” said Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. “Things didn’t go right from the start, but I thought we handled every bit of adversity the way we should.”

The Eagles lost goalie Jacob Priest when he collided with a Bulldog player. “It was a pretty nasty collision,” noted Raynor. “Jacob hit hard and injured his lower back.”

Senior Angel Martinez replaced Priest in goal for the Eagles. “There was some rust there, but Angel stepped up and looked good in goal,” said Raynor.

“Malcolm’s goal was a very similar situation as their goal,” stated Raynor. “Malcolm was in an offside position and their defender played the ball which allowed the play to continue and Malcolm put it away.”

“It was a relief to finally put the goal away,” said Raynor. “You could feel that the goal was coming but not sure when. We kept the ball in their half of the field for the majority of the second half but couldn’t break through.”

Raynor felt that the Eagles left a lot of opportunities and goals on the field. “We weren’t as sharp on the ball as we have been, mostly due to their pressure and how they were playing us. We won throw-in after throw-in that we put in the box but couldn’t finish.”

“Jake (Evans) had a heck of game tonight,” continued Raynor. “He was a difference maker. Getting Jay McGill back was huge for us. He came in and played some big minutes for us.”

Raynor added, “Gabe had a solid game but definitely a great second half. His throw-in is a heck of a weapon to have and generated us quite a bit of offense. Drew (Sholar) and Malcolm did a great job on the right flank and whipping balls in the box.”

East Bladen will travel to South Columbus on Monday for a 5 p.m. game.

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