LEWISTON — A pair of rapid goals to end the first half catapulted Lewiston to a 5-3 victory over cross-river rival Edward Little on Saturday night at Don Roux Field. 

With the game tied at 2-2, Lewiston’s Igor Domingues scored on a one-on-one breakaway with Edward Little goalkeeper Eli St. Laurent, giving the Blue Devils a 3-2 lead with 2:21 remaining in the first half.

Then, almost immediately, Lewiston’s Shafi Ibrahim scored his second goal of the match and celebrated in front of Edward Little’s bench and student section. In a matter of moments, the Blue Devils went from tied to a 4-2 lead.

“The goals were huge,” Lewiston head coach Dan Gish said. “We scored, give up a free kick, scored, give up a free kick. I was impressed with my guys that they did not hit the panic button, they held their poise and they knew they could attack and finish, it’s in their tool belt.

“We could have done some things better attacking-wise, but a win is a win. We will look at the video, have a great week of practice. And they’re high school kids, when you score there are emotions, I get it, we just need to handle it with some class.”

Lewiston’s David Abdi said that the goals were proof that the team was keeping a level head. 

“I think as a team we kept our composure and then we tried to get our goals back,” Abdi said. “We remained calm and didn’t panic. The crowd boosted us.” 

Ibrahim scored first for the Blue Devils (6-0) when he came down the left side and shot at St. Laurent, who tipped the ball but it still found the net to give Lewiston a 1-0 lead with 34 minutes left in the first half. 

Edward Little (5-3) continued to pressure the Blue Devils and forced a corner 12 minutes later. Off the corner, Mohamed Adow gathered the ball and launched a shot into the goal to tie the score at 1-1. 

Lewiston countered just two minutes later with a furious attack at the Edward Little net. A shot rebounded off a player toward Abdi 20 yards away. Abdi shot a one-timer to the left of St. Laurent for a goal that put the Blue Devils back in the lead, 2-1. 

“I just saw that I had to go for it because I was the only one in front of goal, so I had to take my shot,” Abdi said.

The teams went back and forth on the attack, and with about 14 minutes left in the first half, Adow kicked the ball through the legs of Lewiston’s Efraim Kindu and got around Kindu for a breakaway opportunity, but Kindu pulled Adow down from behind. There were no defenders between Adow and the net, and Adow was right in front of the penalty box when the foul occurred, but Kindu escaped with a yellow card. 

Adow took the free kick from the left corner of the penalty box and swung it into the near-side net in the top corner to once again even the score at 2-2.

“We knew they were going to press, come out with energy, there’s no doubt,” Gish said. “They weren’t going to back down and they worked hard. They got into our end, and we made some bad decisions with fouls and things like that. A few too many yellows. I know kids were trying hard, and the goals we gave up, they’re pretty simple fixes. It’s communication and tracking and they know.”

Lewiston tallied three total yellow cards, two in the first half and one in the second, and Edward Little coach Max Thompson earned one in the second half, as well.

Emotions were high in the second half, with both student sections chanting their teams on, while the Lewiston and Edward Little players were engaged in a physical and competitive game on the field. 

“They have speed, we knew it, and it was a focal point to try to stop their wings and strikers from hurting us, and they did,” Thompson said. “I think that was ultimately the difference in the game. But I was proud of the boys. I thought they played really hard and I think they brought a level of intensity I haven’t seen all year, and I think that if we can bring that all the time we can be in a lot of games.”

Lewiston’s Romano Bassa opened the scoring the second-half scoring with a goal from the right side on a quick shot that gave Lewiston a 5-2 advantage only five minutes into the half. 

Edward Little answered 11 minutes later when a free kick swung into the box from right to left and Tudum Monday finished in front of net.

Lewiston goalkeeper Tanner Anctil, who made two saves in the game, preserved the Blue Devils’ two-goal lead when he stopped an Edward Little free kick with 17 minutes remaining.

“The game can be physical, and it’s just how you go about it and control it,” Gish said. “We were making bad decisions. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, so I know we will get better at it.”

Thompson said that he was pleased with what he saw from the Red Eddies.

“I think that we feel good about how we can possess the ball,” Thompson said. “When we play on turf, I think that benefits our style of play. We feel like we can match up from an intensity standpoint, and if we can find a way to shut down some of those easy opportunities and breakaways, which is not easy to do, I think we will be right there with them.

“I am proud of the boys for bringing that level of fight. They were organized defensively and they did a good job of defending as a group. We put them under a lot of pressure, and if we can do that then we can play with anybody, including Lewiston, who is the best in our conference.”

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