VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the final home game of the regular season, a late goal for the 21st-ranked Eagles was not enough to overcome the dominant Bulldog outing in a 7-1 loss to Wingate on Saturday night's Senior Night at McCown Field.
Carson-Newman (9-3-1, 6-1-1 SAC) moves back into second of the South Atlantic Conference standings, two points behind Wingate, following back-to-back losses this week.
The team is now 5-1 in games played at home this season, 4-1 in conference matchups played at McCown Field.
Tom Read gave the Eagles their only goal of the night in the 86th minute on a header in the middle of the 18-yard box from a Jonny Le Quesne free kick. Prior to that, he gave the Eagles two solid chances to equalize, the first coming in the 17th minute in the form of a shot that hit the inside of the post. The senior had another shot in the 76th minute that went just high of the goal.
Read led the Eagles with five shots and two on goal, moving him to 86 in his career. He now stands at third on the career shots on goal list, bypassing Brad Cobbs (2002-05) with 85.
"When the score line's the way it is, you can't fault the guys' effort," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "Every game this season, they're given their all."
Wingate (10-3-0, 7-0-0) made its way onto the board in the fifth minute of play as Felipe Checco sent a free kick from the top of the 18-yard box past the outstretched arms of Twan Verweij to give the Bulldogs an early lead.
In the 20th minute, an arching free kick led to a drop by Verweij, allowing Mattia Ditommaso to capitalize, gaining possession just long enough to send the ball into the back left side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs kept their foot on the accelerator as Elliot Cutts scored on a chip shot despite a charging defensive attack from Verweij for a 3-0 advantage at the 26:26 mark.
"At halftime, we still felt very positive that we could get a result. We thought we had played some good football in the first half, getting some opportunities," Lyons said.
Aside from Read's late goal, the second half belonged to the Bulldogs, scoring four goals in the final 45 minutes of play.
Just a couple minutes into second half action, Cutts made a pass across the box to Jon Ander who subsequently had an easy finish from the left post for a 4-0 lead.
The Bulldogs extended their lead in the 56th minute on Cutts' second goal of the night from the right side of the 18-yard area after a through ball from Elma N'For.
A bending launch from N'For resulted in Wingate's sixth goal with an assist from the tandem of Ander and Cutts on the play.
In the 80th minute, Ditommaso fed the ball to Stuart Hendry who sent a shot under Verweij to finish out the Bulldogs' scoring storm.
Pablo Jara saved three of the four shots on goal he faced on the night. On the other side of the pitch, Verweij saved two shots he faced, pushing him to 8-3-1 on the season.
The physical matchup was highlighted by 33 total fouls and five yellow cards.
"Overall, I think it was a pretty clean battle from both teams," Lyons mentioned. "You're going to get that when you have two top teams playing against each other with a lot on the line."
The last time the Eagles conceded seven goals was in 2002 in a 7-0 shutout loss to Presbyterian.
The loss moves the Eagles' record against the Bulldogs to 12-14-5.
Carson-Newman gears up for a stretch of four-straight road games, starting on Wednesday night in yet another conference rivalry as the team ventures to Greeneville, Tenn. to take on the Pioneers of Tusculum. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Field. Tusculum will provide live stats for the game. Live updates will be available through the match from @CNathletics.