TENNERTON — Bobcat forward Casey Bunker scored the winning goal in the 76th minute to highlight a thrilling late match victory as West Virginia Wesleyan College (2-1-0) punched its second consecutive Mountain East Conference victory, 2-1, over visiting Wheeling University (0-2-0) Wednesday at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
Bunker found a loose ball after forward Sinasi Emre Deniz collided with the Cardinals’ Alvaro Ivanov and planted the free ball from the top of the 18-yard line into the back of the netting.
Wesleyan’s first strike came just a minute before the first half break when Asier Fernandez De La Reguera crushed a 35-yard free kick rocket from the right wing that soared past Wheeling keeper Carlos Molina into the postage stamp corner.
Wheeling’s lone goal came just two minutes before the Bobcats’ game-winner (74th minute) when Jon-Michael Gordan took advantage of Wesleyan keeper Logan Nelson’s missed clearing pass that looped just 20 yards into Wheeling’s possession. Nelson would make amends in the game’s closing minutes when Cardinal defender TJ Cherry cracked a shot to the open far post that Nelson stabbed with a left fist to thwart the tying goal.
“It’s always special to win your home opener,” said Wesleyan head coach Josh Spencer. “We had a great crowd which really helped us. To score so quickly after conceding is a great sign of this team’s togetherness and character, but we’ve still got work to do, and we’ll keep working hard to improve.”
The Bobcats next host MEC rival University of Charleston, Sunday, Sept. 10 at 2 p.m.