First half struggles doom North Lenoir in loss to North Johnston
North Lenoir’s Taiwan Hines looks for space to operate during Wednesday’s match with North Johnston. Photo by Laieke Abebe / Neuse News
LA GRANGE — North Lenoir put itself in a deep hole early it couldn’t get out of.
Four first-half goals proved to be the difference in the Hawks’ 4-0 home loss to North Johnston Wednesday. Although North Lenoir was able to hold the Panthers scoreless in the second half, the damage had already been done to Chris Evans’ squad.
“Our defense was out of sorts,” the Hawks head coach said about his teams performance in the first half. “We did have some injuries to deal with in this game which led to us becoming unorganized at times. I’m proud that we were able to play better in the second half, but we have to start matches better. I think we’re capable of that and we’ll learn from the errors we made today.”
The Hawks (2-2-1) lost 2-1 to the Panthers (3-4-1) in their first meeting Aug. 27 in Kenly.
Despite the score, North Lenoir did have a few chances to score late in the second half. Taiwan Hines shot a free kick that was saved and a scramble for the ball was cleared off the line by the Panthers. Unfortunately, Hines and the rest of his teammates were held in check by a Panthers squad that got to the third round of the 2A state playoffs in 2018.
Evans knows that the teams could potentially meet at some point in the postseason.
“North Johnston deserves a lot of credit,” Evans said about the Panthers. “They’re a well coached team with some really good players and we’re going to see teams like that in the playoffs. Today was a test to see where we’re at as a team and we can improve a lot when we’re able to play against good teams.”
North Lenoir will host Greene Central in each team’s Eastern Carolina 2A conference opener Monday.