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PREP SOCCER: Eagles falter late in loss to No. 1 Johnson-Gainesville
No. 9 Eastside drops to 4-3-1 with 2-1 decision
Eastside Soccer
Coming off a blowout of Hampton, Eastside dropped a 2-1 decision to non-region foe Johnson at Homer Sharp Stadium on Friday night. The Eagles hung tight with the No. 1 team in Class AAAAA before surrendering the game-winning goal with under eight minutes to go. - photo by Mason Wittner

COVINGTON, Ga. — Despite a bevy of scoring opportunities, the No. 9 Eastside High School boys’ soccer team failed to muster up enough offensive production to pull the upset of No. 1 Johnson-Gainesville at Homer Sharp Stadium on Friday night.

Knotted up at one goal apiece, the Knights chipped in the game-winner with 7:55 remaining in the second half before holding on for the 2-1 decision.

“Man, just tough. Unfortunate,” Eastside head coach Champ Young said of the narrow defeat. “But I think we’ll be OK. We found some great things that work for us, especially against the No. 1 team in 5A.”

The Eagles came into the match listed as the ninth-ranked club in Class AAAA with victories over North Oconee, Eagle’s Landing, Stephenson and Hampton under their belt. Friday’s decision dropped them to 4-3-1 on the year. Meanwhile, the top-ranked Knights from Class AAAAA improved to 8-0 with the victory.

Eastside had a multitude of clean looks at the net — including several in the final 10 minutes of regulation — but were unable to convert them into goals.

You saw the chances. We had chance after chance after chance after chance,” Young said. “It was there for us to take. We’ve just got to seize it next time.”

Following a scoreless opening half, Johnson was first to light up the scoreboard when senior Ethan Mann drilled a shot from the right side of the pitch at the 33:02 mark. Eastside senior Ant Lee later knocked in the equalizer with 25:15 remaining in the game.

The Knights’ game-winner came off the foot of Mann, who fielded a miss that bounced off the crossbar and found the back of the net from close range.

Eastside will be back on the pitch at Homer Sharp Stadium on Tuesday, March 10, to play host to Luella at 7:30 p.m.