Bradford, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's soccer team fell to Franciscan University on Saturday as they were unable to hold onto a second-half lead. Despite scoring a goal in the 54th minute to go ahead, the Panthers were unable to hold the lead as Franciscan scored three unanswered goals to win the game.
Neither team was able to score before the break, however, both teams had opportunities to break the deadlock. Pitt-Bradford had the first of the opportunities as Chase Rider sent two shots just wide of the goal about 20 minutes into the action. Franciscan responded in the 21st, as they were able to get a shot off following a cross that was cleared off of the goal line by the Panther defense. 10 minutes later, Thomas Kelly was able to find his way behind the defense and alone with the goalkeeper. He took a shot from just inside the 18-yard box that was able to beat the keeper to the far post but saw his shot clang off the frame and bounce away from goal. Franciscan had one more chance as the half was coming to a close, but goalkeeper Sihle Sizani rushed out of goal and blocked the shot.
The Panthers started off the second half on the front foot and were able to score the opening goal in the 54th minute. Pitt-Bradford drew a penalty kick after Spencer Sklar was knocked down on a corner kick by a Baron defender. Kelly stepped up and put the penalty kick away for his 7th goal of the season. The lead lasted a little over 10 minutes, as Franciscan was able to score after an attacker tracked down a long ball from the defense behind the defense and put away the equalizer to the far post.
The Panthers looked to regain the momentum and the lead as they had two close chances in the 72nd and 76th minutes. Nicholas Pezo had the first chance, as he fired a low volley from the top of the 18 that wound up just off target for a goal kick. 3 minutes later, Rider had a free header on a corner kick that missed just wide as well. The Barons took advantage of the missed opportunities shortly after as they were able to draw and convert a penalty of their own in the 78th.
After the goal, emotions ran high as a tactical foul brought the teams together at midfield. The incident saw three players receive red cards, leaving Pitt-Bradford with 9 on the field and Franciscan with 10. Franciscan took advantage of the extra man over the final 10 minutes of the match, as they were able to put away a clinching goal in the 88th minute.
With the loss, the Panthers move to 7-5 on the season with a 3-2 record in AMCC play. They will take on nationally-ranked Penn State Behrend in the midweek matchup. The game is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Tuesday, October 15th on the soccer field at the Kessel Athletic Complex.