First-half goal decisive as Anderson defeats Pioneers 1-0

Luke Murphy is denied by Anderson keeper Gal Elyashiv in the 16th minute (photo by Chuck Williams)
Luke Murphy is denied by Anderson keeper Gal Elyashiv in the 16th minute (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- A goal midway through the first half by Harry Ward stood as the game-winner for Anderson University in a 1-0 victory over Tusculum University in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

The Trojans (4-4-1, 1-3-1 SAC) were outshot 12-7 by the Pioneers, but made the most of the only shot attempt they put on target in the match. Gal Elyashiv finished with five saves in goal to earn the shutout for Anderson, which snapped a four-match winless streak with the victory over the Pioneers (2-5-1, 1-2-1 SAC) in a rematch of last year's SAC Championship, which Tusculum won 2-1.

Neither team had a shot attempt until the 13th minute, when Ward chipped high over Tusculum goalkeeper Sam Gilbert off a cross. A minute later, Elyashiv had a save on a chance by Arthur Le Gall, then followed in the 16th minute by knocking away a short-range shot by the Pioneers' Luke Murphy. Elyashiv also made a lunging save in the 17th minute on a shot by the Pioneers' Nikola Vujicic that was ticketed for the far side.

At 22:14, the Trojans converted on a turnover in the Pioneers' defensive end as a loose ball came to Ward, who passed back to Jhon Vaca and then received a quick return pass which set him up 10 yards out. Ward went to the far side against Gilbert to give Anderson a 1-0 lead.

Anderson would not have another shot attempt for the rest of the half, while Tusculum had a header by Clement Dagorn off a free kick go wide in the 33rd minute and a sharp-angle shot by Sander Johansen punched away by Elyashiv in the 38th minute.

The best scoring chance in the first 25 minutes of the second half came in the 69th minute, as Murphy headed a shot that caromed off the crossbar. Murphy would have another chance in the 77th minute, but his blast from the top of the box was directed wide by Elyashiv on what would ultimately by the Pioneers' last shot attempt of the afternoon.

Looking for an insurance goal, the Trojans just missed in the 80th minute as a shot from the right side by Alexander Cox-Ashwood went wide of the far post. Another chance by Cox-Ashwood in the 83rd minute on a break went wide of the right post as the score remained 1-0.

Anderson finished the match with a 7-6 edge in corner kicks, and the Trojans were called for 11 fouls to nine by the Pioneers.

Tusculum will continue its stretch of four straight home matches on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with a non-conference contest against Shaw at Pioneer Field.