Penn State (8-4-2, 2-1-1 Big Ten) battled to a hard fought 2-1 win against Bucknell (5-5-4, 1-1-2 Patriot) Wednesday night at Jeffrey Field in a non-conference game.
After dominating for large portions of the game, out-shooting the Bison 24-9, the Nittany Lions men’s soccer team were able to edge out a late winner in the 88th minute to defeat the Bison.
The Nittany Lions were focused on a strong offensive showing against a stingy Bucknell defense and they started out the game strong, registering a chance within the first five minutes.
“I thought we moved the ball ever so well tonight,” coach Bob Warming said. “The first 25 minutes of the game was just some fantastic soccer by our guys.”
In the fifth minute, forward Daniel Burnham converted a skill move through the Bucknell defender's legs to free up space down the right hand side. The midfielder played a ball in to midfielder Grant Warming, who hit the left post with a shot.
After pressuring the wings for the first 20 minutes, the Lions got a breakthrough from defender John Gallagher. The defender sliced through the defense and fired a low shot from outside the box, past goalkeeper Mike Lansing's right side.
“Their scouting report is that I’m all left footed so they were basically sitting on my left so I kept cutting in on my right,” Gallagher said. “I just trusted my right foot and I was able to beat the guy and hit one with my right into the side corner of the net.”
With the Lions looking to take complete control of the match, the team had a multitude of chances to attempt extend the lead to 2-0. Gallagher had a shot saved by Lansing while midfielder Julian Cardona hit the side netting.
Warming said that Gallagher’s impact down the wing was effective to the Lions success creating offensive chances.
“There’s not many left footed guys who can run like that, pass the ball with their left foot like that and plant it.” Warming said.
In the middle of the first half, Bucknell got back into the match with a penalty kick in 31st minute. Off a counter attack, the Bisons forced a one-on-one against defender Eli Dennis, on the right wing the ball was crossed in and headed away but a foul was called on the Lions. Bucknell defender Collin Costello stepped up and buried the penalty kick down low to the left past a diving Andrew Wolverton.
Attacker Hasani Sinclair looked to put the Lions back ahead but a one-on-one against Lansing was saved and forced out for a corner. The attacker also beat the keeper with one minute left but couldn't tuck the ball home from a tight angle.
After hitting the post in the middle of the second half, the Lions focused on getting the winner.
With time winding down, midfielder Drew Klingenberg took control of the ball down by the touchline and chipped it to midfielder Marvin Ledgister from the left corner who was making a back post run. Ledgister was able to convert the chance with two minutes left to give the Lions a breath of relief.
“It always feel good to win,” Ledgister said. “Whether it’s a 3-0 win or a 2-1 win in the last couple minutes.”