After going an almost-perfect 6-0-1 in its first seven matches of the 2017 campaign, the Londonderry High boys’ soccer squad had its record blemished by a slim loss to the Pinkerton Academy Soccer squad in Derry duringMack Plaque play last weekend.
The Lancers drove their record up to 6-0-1 with a 3-0 blanking of the Merrimack High Tomahawks at LHS last Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Josh Ryan netted the only goal his Londonderry crew wound up needing to win this contest 6:55 into the match, and he got that big tally unassisted. And that ended up being the lone goal of the first half.
The locals then padded their lead in the second half with goals from Luca Amarena eight minutes in and then Josh Rutina just a minute later. Ryan tallied the assists on both markers.
Alex Hufford turned aside the eight shots knocked on him by the 2-6 Tomahawks, while his teammates pelted the Merrimack goalie with some 11 blasts.
“The effort we had in the second half was much better throughout the 40 minutes,” said coach Todd Ellis. “I thought the players that came off the bench really provided some energy.”
However, defeat number one of the season was awaiting coach Ellis and his charges in their always-anticipated Mack Plaque match-up with 1983 LHS grad Boles’ Pinkerton bunch, which strode into play on its own field on Saturday the 23rd looking to get back to the .500 mark at 4-4.
A scoreless deadlock wasn’t broken until 12 minutes into the second half when Pinkerton nabbed a goal. And the hosts added an insurance marker 18 minutes later to get to the 2-0 mark which would also be the final score.
That first PA tally came at the tail-end of a scrum right in front of the Londonderry net, with Alex Rust popping the loose ball into the cage. And any fan of soccer could appreciate the second PA goal which featured a perfect execution of a corner kick. Joe Palmer lofted the kick from along the right sideline toward the front of the Londonderry cage, and teammate Ashim Gurung headed it home.
Lancers’ keeper Hufford made five saves his contribution to a strong LHS effort, and PA goalie Max Fairbank turned aside six Londonderry shots.
“Mack Plaque is one of those games where incoming records mean nothing,” said Ellis. “We generated some good chances today that we were just off from connecting on or the keeper made a good play. We need to give credit to Pinkerton for just giving that little bit more effort. I look forward to seeing how we learn from today.”
The LHS bunch then bounced into this week looking to return to the winning path with a Tuesday match at Salem, after Londonderry Times press time, followed by another road battle against Timberlane on Friday, Sept. 29.