By Pensacola FC
Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 extended their lead at the top of the Gulf Coast Conference after an exciting game in Pensacola that saw the visitors leave with a 3-1 win.
Both teams came out strong and exchanged attacks in the opening minutes forcing the keepers into early action. The visitors opened up the scoring in the ninth minute after a nice cross in the box from Cao Chaves was met by the head of Eduardo Coimbra who buried the ball into the Pensacola net.
Pensacola FC took this in stride and didn’t blink, creating more attacks and causing issues for the Armada defense. A nice combination play from Jabari Hylton and Dillon Gallet put Hylton through in the box and he finished from 15 yards out. The linesman flagged for offside on a very tight call, and the goal was ruled out. The home team kept pushing and soon after hit both posts looking for the equalizer.
Cameron Braswell was having a strong performance in the goal for Jacksonville and made sure the teams headed into the halftime break with the score still 1-0 for the visitors.
Early in the second half Coimbra turned provider when he picked out Reed Davis on a lovely through ball that Davis tucked away past Lewis in the Pensacola FC goal to extend the lead to 2-0. Lewis then kept Pensacola in the game with an amazing save from a penalty kick to keep the home team within touching distance and set up an exciting finish to the contest.
In the 70th minute, Kai Phillip made an immediate impact on his debut by sending in a low cross to a packed area in front of the goal that saw Mikey Lightbourne get something on it to guide the ball into the Armada goal. The Armada lead was now cut to 2-1.
Pensacola FC’s momentum then took a big blow just a couple minutes later when Sam Richards received his second yellow of the match, leaving the home team to see out the last 18 minutes with 10 men. The home team still enjoyed some good possession and kept pushing for the equalizer.
Jacksonville sealed the result in the 85th minute when Alex Ierides produced a quality finish into the top corner to extend the lead to 3-1 and secure the three points. The result was Armada’s 10th win of the season as they sit at the top of the conference. It was still an encouraging performance from Pensacola FC, who can take away many positives from the game as they look to rebound during the week away at Tallahassee.
Photo Credit: Jay Garcia/Thirty30vision