Diallo’s brace leads No. 4 Pearl River to win at No. 6 Jones College
The No. 4 Pearl River men’s soccer team was in control of its match from beginning to end on Tuesday, defeating No. 6 Jones College 3-1.
“I thought that we were disciplined for most of the game,” head coach Drew Gallant said. “We definitely did a good job of keeping the ball, building and creating opportunities which you have to do against a very good team like Jones. It was a close game, but we did a good job of creating opportunities and just having the ball.
Pearl River (8-0-1 overall; 6-0 MACCC South) was in control of the game right from the start, developing attacks early and often; however, the Wildcats were unable to net a goal in the early going.
Jones College (7-3; 3-3) looked to get on the scoreboard first in the 20th minute, taking three consecutive shots. The first was off a free-kick, but Maddux Francis (Poplarville) dove to his right and extended his arms to knock the shot out of harm’s way, resulting in a corner kick.
On the corner kick, Francis punched the ball away, but it fell to the foot of a Bobcat player who fired another shot that was saved by Francis.
The string of phenomenal play by Francis seemed to spark the Wildcats as they immediately rushed down the field and took the lead in the 21st minute.
Jason Irias (D’Iberville) ran down the pitch and into the box. Sensing that he had a teammate trailing behind, Irias held the ball, turned and passed it to Andre Nicholson (Kingston, Jamaica; Clarendon College).
Nicholson quickly deposited the ball into the net on his first touch, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage.
“That was a great transition from us. We’ve been working on building counters more into our play,” Gallant said. “The split-second decision from Jason to hold the ball there was amazing. Everyone is screaming at him just to shoot and finish it, but he was so calm on the ball. He passed it back to Andre for an easy goal.”
Pearl River went into the break leading the match 1-0.
The Wildcats continued to control possession in the second half as they waited for the right moments to advance the ball.
In the 54th minute, Mohamed Diallo (Gulfport) added a second goal to the Wildcat tally.
Ryley Smith (Manchester, England; Castlebrook) backheeled a pass to the sprinting Diallo and the forward rocketed a ball from 20 yards out past the diving JC goalkeeper.
The Wildcats allowed a penalty kick in the 72nd minute and the Bobcats smashed it home to cut the deficit to one at 2-1, but less than 30 seconds later Diallo added another goal, picking up a brace in the process.
Harper Baggett (Ocean Springs) crossed a ball to the far post where Diallo headed it home to extend the lead to 3-1. Diallo took over as the leading scorer for the Wildcats with the goal, giving him eight on the year.
PRCC was able to hold on to the score, winning the match 3-1 and defeating Jones College for the second time this season.
The Wildcats return to the pitch Friday as Southwest comes to town. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed at PRCCMedia.com/gold.
Single-match tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at PRCCAthletics.com/tickets. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time to avoid lines.