Tigers prevail over Lions with wild second half

Payton Ford capped a wild second half with a goal with a little over four minutes remaining to lift Circleville to a 4-3 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win on Wednesday over host Liberty Union.

The two teams entered the second half scoreless.

Liberty Union scored the first goal of the match, but the Tigers soon countered with a pair of goals by Makya Cockerham to take a 2-1 advantage with 25 minutes remaining.

Circleville doubled its lead approximately four minutes later when Sabrena Funk took a throw-in from Emma Groff and found the back of the net.

Liberty Union battled back with a pair of quick goals to tie the match with approximately 16 minutes remaining.

The two teams continued to battle until the Tigers were awarded a free kick that Ford slotted past the Liberty Union keeper to decide the match in favor of the Pickaway Countians.

Circleville coach Joseph Stitt discussed the win and his team battling from behind for the first time this young season.

“This was the first time we had to play from behind this year and I was really impressed with our composure to continue to play with high energy after falling down 1-0,” he said. “After we took the lead, Liberty Union really brought a lot of pressure and we continued to respond.

“When they tied the game 3-3, I was particularly proud of our kids for raising their effort level, to keep applying pressure and drawing a foul in a dangerous spot. Payton’s free kick was taken perfectly to give us the lead for good, but it was total team effort to get us in position to earn that free kick.”

Nilyn Cockerham and Groff were both credited with an assist in the win, and keeper Kylie McCain recorded seven saves for the Tigers (2-0-1, 1-0), who return to the pitch Saturday afternoon for a non-league match at Athens.

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