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East Bladen 4, East Columbus 4  Men's Soccer
East Bladen rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 4-2 to tie East Columbus 4-4 in non-conference men's soccer action at Lake Waccamaw Wednesday night.
Colby Hester entered the game after East Columbus had taken the 4-2 lead and "made an instant change in the game" according to Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. "Going with 2 forwards at this point Colby was able to beat the outside back and get in behind for numerous chances."
The first chance came on a foul right outside the box that Hester quickly put in play and chipped to Brooks McGill who volleyed the ball into the back of the net. "That was a nice play for Brooks and to convert the ball from such good service from Colby was amazing," said Coach Raynor.
Hester would score the tying goal as he beat the outside back and cut into the box and fired a hard low ball to the back post. "There were several point blank chances that we missed including a penalty kick with 2-4 minutes to go," continued Raynor. "We had a chance to finish them off but we didn't."
East Columbus capitalized on a mistake by East Bladen in an attempt to clear the ball in the 3rd minute. "We played a bad pass past our centerback and they capitalized on it putting the ball over Matt's (Massengill) head as he ran up to try and clear the mistake," said Coach Raynor.
Three minutes after the opening goal the Eagles made a hard tackle in the box and EC was awarded a penalty kick that hit under the ball and down into the goal.  "Honestly, within those first few minutes we were shell shocked," said Raynor. "We lost our concentration and were not focused."
"After that I made some adjustments personnel wise as well as formation wise," said Coach Raynor. "We have been playing more defensively and countering on teams which is how we will be playing this season but after the game went to 2-0 there was no way we could continue to play that way." 
"After moving some players around and going with a 4-3-3 look with 3 forwards allowed us to keep the pressure on them," noted Raynor. "I'm thankful that we worked on that formation with the travel squad because it paid off today. The combination of Tyler Polk, Brandon Tatum, and Brooks McGill caused major issues for East Columbus and their backline. We had multiple shots on goal from that point."
The Eagles were awarded 2 penalty kicks from poor tackles in the box. Alex Felder knocked in the first East Bladen goal, and the second was fired in by Issac Monroe to tie the game 2-2 at halftime.
The Gators regained the lead on a disputed goal at the 5-minute mark of the second half. The Eagle defenders felt that the goal-scorer was offsides by 5 yards and stopped on the play waiting for a whistle. The whistle never came and the goal counted. Another goal moments later put East Columbus up 4-2.
"This was a good test for us and for us to respond not once but twice to get the game back is a good sign. Now we have to figure how to start minimizing our mistakes," said Raynor. "In every game that we have played, there has been a miscue or two that has really changed the dynamics of the game."
East Bladen, now 0-1-3, will host West Columbus today at 5 p.m.


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