By Derrick Richemond
For the Forsyth County News
Lucas Oliveira took matters in his own legs Friday night, delivering all three goals as Forsyth Central's boys soccer team earned a 3-0 victory against North Forsyth.
The Bulldogs' defense earned their second straight shutout and sixth of the season.
In the first half, both teams' offenses were struggling to put the ball into the net — even the corner kicks were no help. In the two-minute mark, the Bulldogs had two back-to-back corner kicks but still were unsuccessful.
At the end of the half, Central and North were tied 0-0.
“Honestly, I thought we played well in the first half,” Bulldogs coach Will Gifford said. “North is not a bad team, they [have] some very talented players. I was actually very pleased with our play in the first half. I thought we worked hard, did a great job winning the 50/50 balls. We weren’t putting our chances in the frame and we weren’t giving ourselves a chance by making the keeper make a save.”
Central opened the second half on a mission, striking the ball into the net. Although they missed their first two shots. At the 32:18 mark, Oliveira hit a strike from the side of the field to break the tie. The Bulldogs cheered all the way to the bench for breaking the tie.
Five minutes later, Oliveira showed off his range from long distance, sending the ball into the net on a deep strike to give Central a 2-0 lead.
North got its opportunity to answer back from a penalty kick by Justin Askew’s kick, but his kick did not have enough power to fool Central goalie Keegan Williford, who corralled the ball.
With 20:11 left in the half, senior Ethan Rausch was fouled, which gave Central a penalty kick. Scoring two goals already, Gifford took his chances and sent Oliveira to kick the penalty kick.
Oliveira kicked and the ball went straight in the net for his third goal and the final goal for the game.
“I was surprised," Oliveira said. "I knew I was going to score one. I was putting up shots, but I knew one was going to come eventually, and three of them came out."
“Lucas is a really good player,” Gifford said. “I was most impressed by not just the goals, obviously, but his work rate in the middle of the field allowed us to keep the ball. He won 50/50 tackles; he did the little things that [were] required to help the team. It is out of that work rate that we created chances to finish."
Forsyth Central [6-2-2, 2-1 Region 6-7A] will face Cherokee Bluff Thursday at home at 7:30 p.m. North Forsyth [4-5-3, 0-3 Region 6-7A will travel to South Forsyth Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"We’ve been doing a good job building the attack, but we’ve been struggling to find the back of the net, and tonight, we were able to do that against a good team," Gifford said.