BOILING SPRINGS - Furman netted four unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes to take a commanding lead and held on for a 4-3 win over Gardner-Webb in a Tuesday night men's soccer tilt at Greene-Harbison Stadium
The Paladins (4-1-1) entered Tuesday's match with wins over No. 23 Florida International and No. 15 Kentucky under their belts, but got all they could handle from the Runnin' Bulldogs (1-4).
Gardner-Webb got on the board first in the 18th minute when Simen Olsen took a feed from Ali Al-Gashamy and put it into the upper right corner. The shot was blocked by a Furman defender, but he was one step into the net.
The goal was the first of the Oslo, Norway, freshman's career.
The Runnin' Bulldogs organized another run quickly, with Al-Gashamy's long ball to the right corner of the box allowing Severn Soerlie to shake loose. Soerlie fed a nice ball up top to Magnus Moldjord - who rocketed a shot that was deflect-ed into the back of the net by Marvin Mendy at the 21:00 mark. It was Mendy's second goal of the season.
Speedster Austin Billiot subbed in for Gardner-Webb at the 33:34 mark and less than four minutes later had a golden op-portunity that sailed high.
In the 49th minute, Gardner-Webb drew a foul inches outside the 18, setting up a tight free kick opportunity. Al-Gashamy hammered a shot directly into the wall and the Paladins regained possession.
Furman picked up its offensive pace over the next 10 minutes, with Matthew Swan turning away the Paladins' first shot on frame at the 52:16 mark. Furman had its fifth corner kick in the 56th minute after a shot attempt was blocked by Soer-lie and an ensuing chance was also turned away by the GWU defense.
The Paladins finally broke through in the 61st minute, as Lewis Hawke found the back of the net off a free kick from Jo-siah Baker. Less than two minutes later the match was tied, as Hawke's header was blocked and the rebound was sent home by Conor Sloan for the equalizer at the 63:06 mark.
Furman put another run on the GWU net, but Gardner-Webb's defense regrouped and settled down.
Mendy worked free for an excellent chance in the 68th minute, but his missle from 22 yards was high. Back-to-back cor-ner kicks were turned away by Furman's defense in the 71st minute, but Gardner-Webb continued to apply good pres-sure.
The Paladins pushed forward once more, however, and Connor Hubbard finished a nice touch from Evan De Ycaza and Rocky Guerra at the 73:47 mark to put the visitors on top 3-2. Guerra passed to De Ycaza from the right side of the box and a quick touch to Hubbard allowed the sophomore a chance from close in.
The lead grew in the 86th minute, as Baker fed the ball into the box to Dylan Rowe - who touched to Ycaza for an easy finish at 86:46.
Gardner-Webb pulled to within one goal with three seconds left. Alain Delgado served a long ball nicely to Mendy, who headed a pass that Soerlie put low into the back of the net.
GWU had a 5-2 shooting edge in the opening 45 minutes, but Furman's pressure over the final 30 minutes of the match produced a 9-2 margin during that final stretch in favor of the visitors.
The shots were even at 11-11 by the end of the match and corner kicks were slightly in favor of the Paladins (6-5).
Baker finished with a goal and two assists to pace Furman. De Ycaza had a goal and an assist for the Paladins.
Gardner-Webb got a goal and assist from Mendy, who totaled a pair of shots in 90 minutes. Olsen had four shots for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
GWU is back in action on Saturday afternoon, hosting VMI at 4:00 pm.