FLORENCE, SC – Senior Niko Tirkkonen scored amid a wild scramble in the 6-yard box during the second overtime period to give Coker College a thrilling 1-0 non-conference victory over Francis Marion University, Wednesday night (Sept. 26) in men’s soccer action.
Francis Marion (2-5-0) will return to Peach Belt Conference play this weekend with a road match at North Georgia College & State University on Saturday at 2 p.m. Coker improves to 5-2-0 with its fourth consecutive road win.
After a fairly uneventful first half that featured only two shots on goal, both in the final three minutes, the match opened up in the second half. However one of those two shots came when Coker’s Daniel Jackson corralled a corner kick near the six-yard box and blasted an attempt that was blocked by FMU freshman goalkeeper Taylor King.
In the second stanza, Francis Marion registered 10 shots, four of which forced saves by Coker goalkeeper James Sweeney. Several other attempts were just off the mark. Junior forward Cody Farrier fired shots at Sweeney in the 65th and 71st minutes, was just wide of the left post in the 58th minute, and was high on a shot from the top of the penalty area in the 73rd minute.
Francis Marion was forced to play a man down for the final eight minutes of regulation and the overtime sessions when freshman midfielder Pascal Magiera was given a second yellow card on a tackle at midfield. Soon after that whistle, FMU freshman Robin Schittenhelm sent a blast from 25 yards out that sailed inches above the crossbar.
In the final minute of the first overtime period, King deflected a loose ball in the six-yard box and then saved a close attempt by Tirkkonen.
The match-deciding score came in the second extra session only 33 seconds after Coker’s Alan Cuevas stopped an FMU transition break with a foul near midfield that drew a yellow card.
On the scoring sequence, Carlos Recinos pushed a loose ball to Tirkkonen near the left corner of the six-yard box and he knocked the ball into the net.
Taylor finished the match with seven saves, while Sweeney made five stops. Coker led in shots 18-13 and held a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Farrier and junior Alex Blandin led FMU with four shots apiece, two each on target.
Coker College (5-2-0) def. Francis Marion Univ. (2-5-0) 1-0 in 2OTs
Date: Sep 26, 2012 Attendance: 287
Weather: Sunny, Clear, 83 degrees
Goals by period 1 2 OT O2 Tot
Coker College....... 0 0 0 1 - 1
Francis Marion Univ. 0 0 0 0 - 0
1-0. 105:48 COKER Niko Tirkkonen (4) (Carlos Recinos) - 11 yd shot in crowd box
Shots: Coker College 18, Francis Marion Univ. 13 ; Saves: Coker College 5 (James Sweeney 5), Francis Marion Univ. 7 (Taylor King 7)