LIMA — Lima Senior struck first.
But Elida was able to deliver down the stretch.
Elida scored twice in the final 10 minutes Saturday afternoon to post a 2-1 boys soccer victory against Lima Senior at Spartan Stadium.
Elida senior forward Draek Littler scored both goals for the Bulldogs, including the game-winning goal with 1:03 to go.
Caden Fry scored for Lima Senior.
Elida is 6-1-2 (3-1-1 Western Buckeye League).
Lima Senior is 6-5 (0-4 Three Rivers Athletic Conference).
Littler’s game-winning goal came off a corner kick by freshman Ethan Thomas out of the left corner with just over a minute to play.
Thomas’ kick found the head of Tyler Christoff just to the right of the right post. Christoff headed it over to Littler, who was sitting at the left post.
Littler one-timed it into the back of the net to give Elida the 2-1 lead at the 1:03 mark in the match.
“Christoff came out of nowhere and went up for the ball and I’m proud of him for jumping up and winning that ball,” Littler said. “I was left open and he headed it over to me and I couldn’t be happier.’’
Elida outshot Lima Senior 18-6, including 9-2 in the first half.
“We did create a lot of chances, but we couldn’t find the back of the net,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said. “And we told the guys it was going to be difficult to play on the (turf) surface. We play on it one time a year and it makes a big difference. It took has halfway through the second half to be more consistent with our passes.
“Lima Senior played a great match. We ended up finding a way to win. Lima Senior’s a good team.’’
Elida goalkeeper Scott Holmgren made three saves. Spartans goalkeeper Kayden Chilcoat had nine saves.
The match was scoreless at the half, with Elida getting a number of quality scoring chances. But the Bulldogs’ weren’t coming away with shots on the goal.
Also, the Spartans’ defense was playing well, led by center defender Josh Keys.
The Spartans scored first with 13:49 to play in the match.
Fry got loose at the top of the 18-yard box, but momentarily lost the ball to an Elida defender.
Fry quickly got the ball back, dribbled into the box and hit a line drive into the heart of the net from 12-yards out.
That gave Lima Senior a 1-0 lead.
“I think that goal pumped us up and made us play faster,” Littler said. “But we need to come out faster before that. Credit to the team because they didn’t put their heads down and they played harder.’’
Elida tied the game at 1 off a set-piece, a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box.
The Bulldogs’ Aidan Bartels took the kick and pushed a pass to Littler 14-yards out in the middle of the box.
Littler rammed home a one-timer to tie the game at 1 with 9:57 to go.
“They packed the box and left the top of the 18 open and Aidan (Bartels) motioned me to back up with his hand, so I came out and he played the ball real quick and it was a one-time finish.’’
Added Thomas, “Kudos to the guys. They saw that one.’’
Elida ended up with six corner kicks, while Lima Senior had two.
Littler said his team had to adjust to playing on field turf for the first time this season.
“It probably took us a little longer than a half to adjust,” Littler said. “It’s a faster-moving surface. The ball moves a lot faster, it soars and it’s hard to get to.’’
After the match, players on both sides posed for pictures, as several on both teams play club soccer together.
“It was a friendly rivalry,” Littler said. “It was good seeing them.’’