Lambert’s boys simply couldn’t match West Forsyth’s energy.
The Wolverines raced out to a 3-0 lead before holding off a late rally to win 3-2 on Friday at Wolverine Field for their first-ever victory over No.4-ranked Lambert. Junior forward John Newman scored West’s first goal in the seventh minute before sophomore midfielder Kwaku Adu-Boahene tacked on the final two.
West (9-6, 7-5) remains tied with Johns Creek and South Forsyth for third place in Region 6-AAAAAA with only two games remaining, while Lambert (11-3, 9-3) is in second place. The Longhorns have lost three consecutive region games — each by one goal — and three of their last four games overall.
"… We worked really, really hard," West head coach Jason Bayush said. "We were kind of worried on [how] we were going to do on the layoff from spring break, but I think it really helped us and got some legs back under us.
"We conditioned hard this week and played our game. We knew if we settled down and played our game, we had a good shot of winning and got it done."
With West ahead 3-0 late in the second half, Lambert came alive. The Longhorns’ Cooper Coughlin beat his defender and the keeper with a close-range shot with 10:57 left in regulation.
Lambert continued the assault and broke through again with 3:43 left on the clock. Coughlin drew a foul in the box, which resulted in a penalty kick. A West defender vehemently argued his case and Bayush voiced his displeasure to the referee, but it was to no avail. Coughlin lined up the penalty kick and fired it into the left of the goal to bring Lambert within one point.
The Longhorns never got off another quality scoring opportunity, as the Wolverines took their time and played sound defense.
"[With] a team like Lambert, no lead is big enough," Bayush said. "They put a lot of pressure on [us] in the last 10 minutes. They were inside our defensive third, working the ball and getting opportunities that they weren’t getting in the middle of the game.
"We’re making strides. We set goals in the beginning of the year and obviously want to make the playoffs. We knew we had some good teams in front of us. … This [win] gives us a boost in confidence because we’ve played well against the big teams."
West’s Marcus Bray passed the ball right to left, and Newman did a sliding kick a few yards out to push the ball past keeper Miles Maynard in the seventh minute. Just a little over 11 minutes later, Adu-Boahene blew past his defender and kicked the ball into the middle-left side of the goal.
Coughlin tried to put Lambert on the scoreboard in the first half with a free kick just outside of the box with 1:08 left, but his shot was over the goal and West took a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Wolverines added their final goal in the 56th minute when Ranier Lopez fed the ball across to Adu-Boahene for a shot from 10 yards out into the far right side of the goal.
"… I got the ball two times and put it in the net," Adu-Boahene. "The second [goal] I was on my weak foot, [but] had a good touch and it went in."
The Longhorns have had a difficult time battling injuries and illness.
"I’m not going to make excuses, but to take from it, we’ll take the second half because we won 2-0 in the second half and take that into the next game," Lambert head coach Chris Wilson said.
"When we have seven starters out because of flu and sickness and stuff like that [it makes things more difficult.]"