Nighthawks explode for four goals in second half to bury Flagler 5-3

As the Nighthawks entered halftime, tied 1-1, head coach Patrice Parris appeared a bit more animated than usual as he tried to encourage his team.

The result, a four-goal explosion, including a span of three goals in nine minutes, lead his team to a victory over Flagler College on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Starting off on the right foot: Gabriel Garcia sends a shot past the keeper for the first goal of the game in the 10th minute. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

“The halftime conversation we had today was the fact of, when we bring players off the bench, we have to make sure that the tempo doesn’t drop and that we continue playing at a high, elite level,” Parris said. “I think we saw that in the second half. In the second half we made some of those adjustments and obviously capitalized on those goal-scoring chances and opened up the game.”

The Nighthawks changed the tempo immediately, scoring just four minutes into the half as forward Alex Grant applied pressure and struck for his fifth goal of the season, putting UNG back on top.

Jumping for joy: UNG forward Alex Grant watches the ball go into the net as he hops over the keeper and begins his goal celebration. The goal was the first of four second-half goals as the Nighthawks never looked back. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

“There’s nothing better than scoring on your home pitch in front of your fans,” Grant said.

Just one minute of play later, the Nighthawks struck again, this time off of a corner kick.

Headed for a victory: Even with the defender illegally tugging his jersey, Evan Davis wouldn’t be stopped, sending the ball into the goal with his head. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

Sophomore Evan Davis made the most of a perfectly placed corner kick from freshman Matheus Abreu, heading the ball past the keeper to put his squad up 3-1.

Providing assistance: Matheus Abreu delivers a corner kick into the box, setting up the header for goal by Davis. After providing the assist, Abreu found himself on the scoring end later in the match. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

Abreu provided just what Parris called for, coming off the bench and providing the ability and pace of a starter. The freshman helped create several chances, including the assist on the Davis header and a goal of his own just eight minutes later to put the team up 4-1. The depth coming off the bench, which allows the Nighthawks to keep the pressure on the opposing defense all game, has contributed a great deal to the team’s success this season.

Matheus Abreu slams a shot past the defender and the keeper for a goal, giving the Nighthawks a 4-1 lead. The freshman provided a dynamic spark coming off the bench and helping to create chances offensively. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

“It’s such a big help having pace and quickness on the wing,” Grant said. “All the boys have played fantastic this year and I hope we continue the form that we have.”

After conceding a goal that reduced UNG’s lead to 4-2, the Nighthawks applied the pressure once again, as Grant made a run on goal before being taken down in the box, forcing a penalty kick and the sending off of a Flagler defender. The penalty was converted by Carl Ludwig Eriksson, stretching the lead back to three goals.

Carl Ludwig Eriksson puts the finishing touch on the five-goal performance, putting the penalty kick past the keeper for a goal. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

The Nighthawks conceded one final goal, but managed onto hold the lead through the 90th minute for the victory. The win put the team at 5-4 for the season with a 2-1 record in Peach Belt Conference play.

About Jake Cantrell (27 Articles)
Jake Cantrell is a Journalism major at the University of North Georgia. He is the managing editor of the Gainesville Vanguard staff. Jake is in his third semester of working at the Vanguard and has also worked as an intern at The Dahlonega Nugget. He plans to make a career of sports writing or broadcasting.
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