LANCASTER, Pa. – Jared Bomba finished a rebound from close-range with 17 seconds remaining to lift No. 14 Franklin & Marshall to a 1-0 victory over Stevenson in non-conference men's soccer action on Wednesday night at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats (7-0-1) earned a free kick just outside the left side of the box with less than a minute left on the clock and time ticking down. A nifty combination set piece from Zach Fried and Max Watson resulted in Chris Scott blasting a hard left-footed strike towards net. Mustang goalkeeper Kenneth Hersey was in the right spot to block Scott's strike, but Bomba cleaned up the mess from just a few yards out, burying his shot into the near post to give F&M the victory in dramatic fashion.
The F&M defense posted its eighth consecutive shutout to begin the year, and has now gone 750 minutes without yielding a goal. Goalkeeper T.J. White (7-0-1) was largely untested, posting one save in the win.
F&M bombarded the Mustangs (4-5-1) with shots early and often, outshooting the visitors 19-5 throughout the contest. The Diplomats also held a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.
The Diplomats had multiple close looks at net, nearly taking the lead on multiple occasions throughout the 90 minutes of play. In the fourth minute, Ben Beaver had a golden opportunity following a feed from Bomba on the right side. Beaver dribbled past Hersey and sent a shot towards net, but a Mustang defender delivered a sliding stop to prevent the score.
In the 27th minute, Preston Kilgore played a high, looping ball into the box following a Stevenson clearance that found the head of Bomba, but his header sailed over the crossbar. Seven minutes later, Zach Fried stripped a Mustang of the ball near midfield and played a beautiful through-ball to Beaver on the left side. Beaver then weaved his way past several defenders and had a good look at goal, but was unable to get enough power on the shot as Hersey registered the save.
Beaver had another quality chance in the 52nd minute on a free kick from about 25 yards out. The senior forward sent a dipping strike towards the left post, but Hersey corralled the ball with a superb diving stop to his left to keep the score at 0-0.
The Diplomats put together multiple other high-quality opportunities with deft passing and several long runs down the wings, but were unable to finish until Bomba's game-winner in the closing seconds.
Hersey recorded several difficult stops for the Mustangs, totaling eight saves in the losing effort to fall to 1-3-1 on the year.
F&M returns to Centennial Conference (CC) play on Saturday at Muhlenberg. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.