Sep 12, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Down one player, in a tie game, perhaps the easier path for the Liverpool boys soccer team would be to go into a defensive shell and make sure that, at least, its latest showdown with Cicero-North Syracuse would go on into overtime.
But the Warriors thought otherwise, and with a strong throw and a bit of confusion in front of the Northstars’ net late in regulation, Liverpool pulled out a 1-0 victory Tuesday night at the Gillette Road complex.
The game-winner came from Joe Pugh, who flung a shot from the point past C-NS goalie Charlie Willard with 4:15 to play after a powerful throw-in from the right side provided by Owen Thompson.
Not only do Liverpool and C-NS have the familiarity inherent in a neighborhood rivalry, they also produce exciting contests, including three of them in 2011, two won by the Northstars, including a 2-1 decision in the the Section III Class AA quarterfinals.
Now, sporting a 2-0-1 mark and having just tied defending champion Baldwinsville 2-2 in its last game on Sept. 8, Liverpool again went after C-NS, who had started 4-0 despite injuries to key players like Billy Rose (out for the season with a torn ACL) and Collin Melveney, who has a back injury and may come back in October.
The two sides mostly slogged through a 0-0 first half with few real scoring chances on either end. C-NS had its best chances early, but near the end of the half it was Liverpool making pushes, forcing Willard to make a couple of sliding saves before Leo Rubio could flash open.
It was a similar theme in the second half, the Northstars pushing hard in the early going but unable to convert against a stout Liverpool defense, anchored by Pugh, along with Kyle Lombard, Zach Munski and Mike Milligan, all of which made sure goalie Kyle Peck did not have to handle the ball too much.
With regulation time starting to run low, the play got more aggressive, leading to some yellow cards. This appeared to burn the Warriors when Rubio, who already had a card, got whistled again with 13:21 left, sending him out of the game and leaving Liverpool with 10 players on the field against the Northstars’ 11.
Yet C-NS could not take advantage of this, and Liverpool kept pushing. That led to the pivotal throw-in, as Thompson powered it into a crowd of players in front of the Northstars’ net. Pugh, in the back of this crowd, got open space, found the ball and put it past Willard to win it.
The Warriors and Northstars are not done with each other, as a rematch takes place Oct. 4 at LHS Stadium – and, of course, the possibility of a third playoff encounter always looms.
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