PALMYRA >> Palmyra boys' soccer coach A.J. Hull knows his team will get another crack at Mechanicsburg this season.
What he's hoping for is a repeat of the first 20 minutes of Thursday night's Keystone Division battle at In The Net.
What Hull wants his team to learn from is that 60-minute gap.
Dylan Edgar's late first half goal put Mechanicsburg (4-1, 2-1) ahead to stay, as the Wildcats survived a frantic final minute and secured a 3-2 victory over Palmyra.
Trailing 3-1 with 49 seconds left, Palmyra's Sean Bordner scored to bring the Cougars within one. After Mechanicsburg managed to clear the ball to their half of the field, Palmyra (3-3, 1-2) quickly pieced together one final push, with Alex Hoffsmith's last-ditch attempt falling just short on the bounce.
It was that close.
Hoffsmith had opened the scoring with a goal at 39:09 in the first before Mechanicsburg's Tully Ryan tied it three minutes later.
"It's like some of our players finally woke up and realized 'OK, clock is running down, what can we do?'" Hull said. "What we did in the first 20 minutes we started getting back to in the last two minutes, which is unacceptable. That leaves a 60-minute gap of inconsistency, turning the ball over, they scored two goals in that 60-minute lapse."
Palmyra out-shot Mechanicsburg 10-8 and had five corner attempts, just missing on two.
"(Mechanicsburg is) certainly one of the top teams," Hull said. "That just goes to show where we were last year to this year, we are a better team and that we have the potential to beat a team like that. It's almost frustrating because you see the potential of the teams you can beat and when you come up one goal short it's bitter."
Hoffsmith's chance in the final three seconds needed one more rotation before the horn and it could've easily tied the game.
"Certainly had a chance at tying, especially that last one," Hull said. "Had a chance of winning as well, but it was all about execution. Execution was key."
Palmyra will cram four games into next week, including Keystone clashes with Susquehanna Twp., McDevitt, CD East and Lower Dauphin.
The next week presents a good chance to learn from Thursday's loss and still get done what Hull expects of his team.
"My goal for this team was for us to finish top-three in our division," Hull said "I still think that's certainly attainable, we just got to put it together. There were good things to take away from tonight, but certainly things for improvement."
Mechanicsburg 3, Palmyra 2
First half —M: T. Ryan, K. Edgar, P: A. Hoffsmith
Second half — M: N. Moshgat, P: S. Bordner
Assists — M: D. Snyder
Shots on goal — Palmyra 10, Mechanicsburg 8
Corners — Palmyra 5, Mechanicsburg 3
Saves — Palmyra 10, Mechanicsburg 10