It was only a matter of time before Lambert’s No. 3-ranked boys soccer team broke through North Forsyth’s stingy defense.
Longhorns midfielder Cooper Coughlin worked from the right side of the goal and split a pair of defenders before beating the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper for the first score of the game with 22:25 left in regulation.
Bobby Hopper tacked on an insurance goal, as Lambert defeated the Raiders 2-0 in a Region 6-AAAAAA matchup on Friday at The Horn.
"I just made a run down the line and they weren’t stepping, so I just cut in and when the [defender] stepped and didn’t hit it, I was wide-open," Coughlin said. "I had another one, but Bobby took it, but that’s all right."
Neither team could find its groove for much of the first half, but Lambert (3-0, 2-0 Region 6), started to find holes in the defense with a few minutes remaining before halftime.
The Longhorns’ best opportunity in the first half came with 2:05 on the clock, as Coughlin attacked the left side of the goal only to have North (0-3-1) goalie Javier Ramirez barely tip the ball out of play.
Lambert hurried for corner kick and had a chance to score, but the shot was well above the goal and was the final attempt before halftime.
"In the first half, we kind of came out a little tentative," Lambert head coach Chris Wilson said. "We didn’t push as many numbers forward [in the first half] and I think in the second half we got the point across by pushing numbers across and we had more people in the box, which made it more dangerous, obviously, that led to both goals."
Accurate passes and quality attempts paid off for Lambert in the second half.
Lambert played much of the game on North’s side of the field and took 10 shots on goal in the final half, while the Raiders didn’t manage a shot on goal in the entire game.
North’s best opportunity came on a corner kick with 15 minutes left, but the cross was wide and easily controlled by Lambert.
The Longhorns started a counter attack and worked the ball down the field to force a corner kick. The kick was too long, but the ball continued to stay on North’s side. Coughlin eventually beat his defender and fired a shot that hit off the keeper and rolled toward the goal. Hopper didn’t want to chance it and pushed the ball past the line for the final score.
"There’s a no die attitude for sure with these guys," Wilson said. " ... I thought we did better. It was a step forward, but we still have work to do.
"We won a lot of the balls at midfield, which makes a huge difference. When you challenge for the ball and you don’t let them have it, they really can’t get forward, so that’s what we tried to do with our midfield and defense to make sure they don’t have opportunities."
Lambert will travel to South Forsyth on Tuesday, while North will play at West Forsyth.