BRATTLEBORO -- There was a controversial kick that wasn’t reviewed, the visiting coach was unhappy with the officiating, and the Patriots lost by one.
In a game of futbol that resembled the AFC Championship rematch in Baltimore the night before, the Brattleboro boys soccer team defeated rival MAU, 1-0, on Tenney Field.
"It’s always special to beat them. It’s a great rivalry. League games are always tough," said BUHS coach Paul Sather. "It was a great game. We just had trouble finishing."
Trailing 1-0, MAU’s Marcus LaFlamme was robbed twice in the second half by Brattleboro keeper Galen Finnerty. But it was Cameron Bow’s shot that had visiting coach Mike Molloy reaching for his challenge flag, as the ball glanced off the bottom of the crossbar and went straight down.
"I haven’t gotten a call all day," said Molloy midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, keeper Patrick Cody continually bailed the Patriots out. The sophomore dove to stop Jesse Brown’s laser, he denied Jackson Batchelder on a free kick, and turned back Isaiah Ungerleider following a throw-in.
Late in the game, the Brattleboro student section started chanting, "we believe that we will win." They may have been thinking about a tie instead, however, when LaFlamme fired from point-blank range on two occasions.
But Finnerty came out of nowhere to stop both attempts.
"It was a
The Colonels outshot their rivals 7-2 over the first 40 minutes, including Rowan Payne-Meyer’s header off the crossbar. The home crowd also got some excitement when Michael Cioffi and Paxton Reed nearly got to a loose ball in front before Cody snatched it.
At the other end, Jordan Renouf cleared the ball out of danger twice for the hosts. After watching Dylan Prazak push one wide left and Owen Page miss high, Finnerty caught a pair of hot shots by Andrew Slade.
The frustrated Molloy kept smiling after asking the closest ref to him how he could possibly have made certain calls.
LaFlamme would put the pressure on, as he ripped one wide left and then made a beautiful cross that Payne-Meyer deflected. And when the ball was lofted the other way, down the right sideline, Brattleboro’s Conner Elliott-Knaggs made the offensive play of the game.
The junior used his head to gain control of the bouncing ball, against the shorter Luke Keenan, and dribbled along the end line before beating the MAU keeper with 3:06 left before the break to put BUHS ahead 1-0.
And the Colonels kept peppering Cody until the intermission. But Batchelder, Lane Drummy and Brown were all rejected.
Finnerty made six saves to earn the shutout. Batchelder and Brown each took a team-high four shots.
The 4-2 Colonels, who have now qualified for the playoffs, will play at Hartford on Thursday.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.