Lewiston goalie Yaha Heri guesses correctly and dives for a penalty kick that he turned aside during Tuesday’s game at Edward Little in Auburn. The Devils beat the Red Eddies 2-1. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Lewiston goalie Yaha Heri guesses correctly and dives to stop a penalty kick during Tuesday’s game at Edward Little in Auburn. The Blue Devils beat the Red Eddies 2-1. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Lewiston was down a goal and down a man but was up for the challenge.

Two second-half goals, spaced less than two minutes apart, with only 10 players on the field pushed Lewiston past rival Edward Little 2-1 in a KVAC Class A North boys soccer clash Tuesday.

The Red Eddies (5-9) needed a win or possibly a tie against the top-seeded Blue Devils (12-1-1) to get into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

Edward Little goalie Mack Sampson makes a save on a shot by Lewiston’s Abdirahman Daud during Tuesday’s game in Auburn. Lewiston won 2-1 Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I thought we had a chance, just like I think we have a chance to win every game,” Edward Little coach Tim Mains said. “I think we had a lot of talent this year. When we decided to show up I knew we could play with the best of them. (The first half) went very well, but I wasn’t surprised by it.”

Everything pointed to the possibility of an upset in the first half. A penalty kick 3:25 into the game allowed the Red Eddies to take the early lead, as freshman Jack Thompson calmly converted the take.

“Technically and skill-wise, he’s our best player,” Mains said. “It wasn’t really a question to me (letting a freshman take the kick).”

The Red Eddies were awarded another penalty kick 18 minutes into the game, and it could have been a much more disastrous sequence for the Blue Devils. Mohamed Abdikadir was issued a red card after a deliberate hand ball in the box trying to prevent Jake Jackson’s flip throw-in from going into the goal.

“I really feel for Mohamed Abdikadir because that means he’s got to miss the playoff game,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “But we’ve got kids on the bench that can do things.”

Mains called upon Chase Martin to take the second penalty kick, but Lewiston goalie Yahya Heri made a lunging save to keep it a one-goal deficit.

Lewiston’s Ayub Hassan turns away a throw-in with a header during Tuesday’s game at Edward Little in Auburn. Lewiston won 2-1. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“In practice he’s been quick enough to get to those, and he makes those quick saves,” McGraw said. “The first one, I thought that kid hit a great shot, there’s nothing you can do. But the second one, (Yahya) did his job. He just did his job.”

“(Chase) had a great hit,” Mains said. “The goalie made an unbelievable save on it.”

Before and after losing Abdikadir, the Blue Devils struggled to put together their trademark attack, and the Red Eddies’ stifling defense held them to just two shots on goal.

“In the first half we really contained them pretty well,” Mains said. “We played very defensive and just kind of held our half, and leaked out and countered when we could.”

Lewiston showed more offensive life in the second half, despite being a man down, but shots were either saved by EL goalie Mack Sampson or sent off-target.

Lewiston’s Moubarek Abdourahman, left, gets a boot on the ball before Edward Little’s Mohamed Dafe can make a play on it during the first half of Tuesday’s close match at Edward Little in which the Blue Devils prevailed 2-1. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

There was no stopping the tying goal, especially not from Lewiston’s top scorer, Bilal Hersi. Suab Nur found his senior teammate from the top-right corner of the box after creating space by making a defender miss, then Hersi struck a turnaround shot inside the six-yard box into the top of the net with a bit more than 15 minutes to play.

“That one definitely lifted the mood of our whole team,” Hersi said. “Personally, it felt good.”

Hersi had a hand in the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later. His direct kick from 25 yards out went low and around the Red Eddies wall, and Sampson wasn’t able to fully corral the ball. Leandro Auger came rushing in untouched and poked the ball in while Sampson was still trying to regroup.

“When you think of the two goals that Bilal (was a part of), those were the hardest-working goals that anybody has ever scored because they were all over him. And EL did a tremendous job defensively bottling him up,” McGraw said. “We just escaped with a nice win. It’s a typical, typical Lewiston-Edward Little game. Always tough, always intense, and I’ll take it.”

Sampson, in the final game of his high school career, made five saves. Heri stopped four shots for Lewiston.

Edward Little’s Jacob Jackson goes head over hils to make a throw-in during Tuesday’s game at Edward Little in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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