Jamie DeCascio scored the game-winning goal against Lisbon on Thursday. In photo, Jamie moves and accelerates by a defender in earlier action this season. James Barrett. (click for larger version)
October 21, 2013LISBON — In a tight rivalry match between the Woodsville Engineers boys' soccer team and the Lisbon Panthers boys' soccer team, it would come down to the final moments of the game to have a winner.
On Oct. 17, the Engineers made the fairly short drive to take on the rival Panthers. The Engineers coming into the game were in solid standing as they were battling for first place and had already sealed home field advantage for start of the playoffs.
The Panthers on the other hand had been battling for playoff position as they have been hovering in the middle of the division for much of the season. Part of their position up to this point was the four ties that they had racked up. Those ties coming against all solid teams and on the back of a stout defense that has been able to play with all of the better teams in the division.
When they match started out, both teams battled for field position. The Engineers were able to get some early chances but the Panthers were able to keep the ball out of any dangerous areas and to the outside. If the ball did make its way inside the Panther 18, a Panther defender quickly booted it out.
Like much of the season, the Panthers were stemming their offensive rushes off of such clears from their defense. A lot of balls in their match up versus the Engineers found their way to the wing where the speedy Gage Pequeno was able to pick it up and send clears to the middle of the field and in the direction of Jackson Smith.
Play went back and forth for the first half with no goals scored on either side. The Engineers had a slight edge on chances, shots and momentum. However, the Panthers were not giving up.
When play resumed in the second half, both teams continued where they had left off. The Engineers continued to push their attack on the Panthers but were unable to get the opening goal.
Midway through the second half, the Panther offense began to find its way into the Engineer box, but the Engineer defense matched them blow for blow. With six minutes left in the game, the Engineers were finally able to score the elusive goal. After a series of turnovers in front of the Panther bench, Woodsville's Jamie LoCascio received a great through ball about 22 yards out. LoCascio then maneuvered his way around a Panther defender who had lunged to stop the speedy Engineer forward. LoCascio then took a sharp move to his right and ripped a shot low and to the right of a diving Lisbon goaltender.
As soon as the Engineers saw the ball ripple the netting, the on-field players ran to the middle of the field and embraced in a group hug as they celebrated the long awaited first goal of the game.
Though down, the Panthers were not about to give in. The Panthers maintained control of the ball for the remainder of the game, as they took shot after shot on the Engineer goal. One chance almost ended in a tying goal when Smith chased down a loose ball and found his way into the Woodsville end with two Engineer defenders right on his tail. Smith attempted to move the ball to his left for a shot when he appeared to lose his footing and stumbled as the ball was scooped up by an opportunistic Engineer defense. When the final whistle blew, both teams were bruised and exhausted but the Engineers took away the win.
With the victory, the Engineers moved to 12-1-1 on the season. Although their record matches that of the first place, Derryfield, they sit in second due to a Derryfield victory over D-III Manadnock earlier this season. Nevertheless, the Engineers appear to be in top shape as they enter the final week of their regular season.
The Engineers will wrap up their season on Friday when they host 2-10 Hinsdale. That match up is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. If the Engineers want to overtake first place from Derryfield, they would most likely have to win out the remainder of their season.
As for the Lisbon Panthers, with the loss they fall to 6-5-4. Currently in 11th place they wrapped their season up on Tuesday when they traveled to fourth place Colebrook.
After the game, Panther head coach Les Poore commented on his team's performance this season.
"If we are gauging ourselves by how we play against the top teams, I would say we are looking pretty darn good heading into the playoffs."