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Littleton toughs out 3-2 win over Sunapee

by Corey McKean
Sports reporter - The Littleton Courier

Danny Kubkowski put Littleton up 1-0 late in first half action. Corey McKean. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2017
LITTLETON — There was hardly anything separating the Littleton Crusaders boys' soccer team and the visiting Sunapee Lakers on Friday, Sept. 8, as both teams played a terrific match that was neck and neck.

Littleton took a 1-0 lead late in the first half as Danny Kubkowski found the back of the net on a breakaway but minutes later, Sunapee would get a gracious call, a hand ball inside the Littleton box, which resulted in a penalty kick that the Lakers put away, knotting the score up at 1-1. Just before the half, however, the Crusaders took the lead back as Jason Brammer shook the net with a hard shot, giving Littleton a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Midway into the second half, Scott Ridlon struck for Littleton, putting the Crusaders up 3-1, which held up until late in the match when Sunapee scored but it wouldn't be enough as Littleton hung on to win, 3-2.

"We played with patience. Kept consistent pressure in our attacking third throughout the match. For the most part we created space and were on our passing game, controlling possession and creating more chances than Sunapee. Now we have to concentrate on converting those chances. Really pleased with our performance from front to back today," said Littleton coach Jo Gardner.

It was Sunapee who came out strong, controlling possession and play, which resulted in a few hard shots on goal but Crusader keeper Quintin Ross was there to make the saves. Once Littleton settled down about 10 minutes into play, and started using their speed on the outside flanks, the Crusader offense started to come together.

From the 20th minute on, Littleton dominated play, stringing together passes and putting shots on net but they struggled to break through, until the 31st minute when Kubkowski took advantage of a Sunapee miscue on defense as miscommunication led to a loose ball that Kubkowski got to, creating a breakaway, which he stuck into the lower right corner of the net, giving the Crusaders a 1-0 advantage.

In the 35th minute, the tables turned as Sunapee was given a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box was called on Littleton. The penalty kick would be taken perfect, hit into the lower left corner of the net to knot the score up at 1-1.

With just a minute remaining in the first half, Jason Brammer received a pass from Jean Rodriguez down the right flank, cut inside the Sunapee 18-yard box and hit a hard shot from a tough angle into the lower left side netting, putting Littleton up 2-1 at halftime.

Littleton and Sunapee continued to battle, with both teams possessing the ball well early in the second half but it was a goal in the 59th minute by Ridlon that seemed to give the Crusaders all the momentum. Ridlon got behind the Sunapee defense off a through ball from Kubkowski, creating a one on one situation with the goalie, which Ridlon beat to the ball and finished into the back of the net, extending the Littleton lead to 3-1.

In the 71st minute, Sunapee tallied another goal, bringing the score to 3-2 but the Crusaders would pack it in and hang on to earn the victory.

The Crusaders were led by Kubkowski with a goal and an assist while Brammer and Ridlon each added a goal.

Littleton improves to a record of 3-1 on the season while Sunapee falls to a record of 3-1. The Crusaders will play again on Saturday, Sept. 16, as they travel to play Profile at the Patriots homecoming. Game time is posted for 1 p.m.

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