SEMINOLE — Seminole staved off a gritty and determined Pinellas Park squad, winning 3-2 Friday night thanks to Liam Murphy’s two goals and late-game heroics by goalkeeper Kenneth Matthews.
The Warhawks (12-2-1) are riding a three-game winning streak to conclude the regular season.
Seminole’s Tarik Salkicic got the scoring started by penetrating Pinellas Park’s defense in the box during the 27th minute, forcing attention away from open scorers. Salkicic centered a pass to an open Murphy, who blasted the ball in the back of the net.
Salkicic’s magic continued in extra time, passing the ball on a spinning heel kick to Garrett Bocon, getting the ball past Pinellas Park’s Zack DiTommaso, making the score 2-0 right before the end of the first half.
Pinellas Park (5-7-1) refused to be beaten easily, scoring in the 49th minute on a goal from Joel Delatorre-Castellanos off a deflection from Matthews.
“Pinellas Park’s record does not reflect just how good they are,” Seminole coach Rick Masi said. “Down 2-0 they could’ve caved in, but they didn’t.”
The Patriots were at it again in the 54th minute, tying the game on an outside shot from Giovanni Hernandez, who banked it off the right post.
Seconds later, Bocon shot a free kick from 20 yards out, which was punched out by DiTommaso. Murphy received the rebound and shot through cluttered defenders for the go-ahead goal.
“The goalie bobbled it, so I saw it and went in there to finish it,” Murphy said. “Every game I have to step my game up.”
Delatorre-Castellanos made a valiant effort in the 75th minute, splitting defenders and taking a shot, but Matthews was there for the diving save.
“If we can learn to finish, we’d be a dangerous team,” Masi said.