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Panthers fall to top-seeded Lisbon in semis

Moultonborough’s Miles Clarenbach, right, defends Lisbon’s Chad Knighton Nov. 1 at Merrimack Valley High in Penacook. Knighton scored three goals to help Lisbon defeat Moultonborough 4-1 in the D-IV tournament semifinals. Charlie Lentz. (click for larger version)
November 05, 2012
PENACOOK — Mere minutes before the final whistle, the fourth-seeded Moultonborough boys' soccer team trailed top-seeded and undefeated Lisbon by just one goal in the semifinals of the Division IV tournament at Merrimack Valley High. But the equalizer eluded Moultonborough despite several scoring chances in a second half of up-and-down soccer action and Lisbon scored twice in the final three minutes to defeat Moultonborough 4-1 on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Although Moultonborough had several opportunities in the waning minutes, the Panthers could not tie it and Lisbon cashed in with two late goals as Moultonborough went for broke offensively.

"We tried to counter as much as we could but (Lisbon) played well. They've got good defense," said Moultonborough coach Eric Porusta.

With Moultonbrough trailing 2-1 and three minutes remaining in regulation, Lisbon senior forward Mike Heath found Chad Knighton with a through pass and Knighton worked his way free and scored from 10 yards out to put Lisbon up by two goals.

"(Heath) is a heck of a player," Porusta said. "He really pushes his way through and makes opportunities happen for them."

With one minute left on the clock, Knighton found an open net and completed his hat trick with a goal from 40 yards out to give Lisbon a 4-1 lead in a game that was far closer than the final score.

"The score really isn't indicative of the game," Porusta said. "Once they got that 3-1 lead basically the wheels kind of fell off the bus and they knew that was the end — running out of time. We tried to make some modifications to play more offense than defense and you could see (Lisbon) had more wide-open opportunities at the end of the game. But whether you lose 2-1 or 4-1 it doesn't really matter, they count the same."

Lisbon led 17-8 in shots but couldn't shake Moultonborough despite several good scoring opportunities early in the first half.

Knighton finally opened the scoring at 23:08 of the first half from 12 yards out, lining a low shot inside the left post to put Lisbon up 1-0. Heath scored on a header at 28:36 of the first half for a 2-0 lead.

Moultonborough didn't give an inch and got back in the game with just two seconds left in the first half as sophomore forward Tristan Price measured a shot from 30 yards out on the left wing and laced a liner to the upper right corner to pull Moultonborough to within 2-1 at the halftime break.

Lisbon coach Les Poore credited Moultonborough for 80 minutes of spirited play.

"And then with a 2-0 lead for (Moultonborough) to score with two seconds left (in the half) — that was just unfortunate but it was heck of a shot," said Poore. "We knew it would be a hard-fought game and I've got a lot of respect for Moultonborough. They worked hard. We worked hard."

Moultonborough had several scoring opportunities over the final 15 minutes but could not score the equalizer. Porusta said Moultonborough had chances to tie it but could not convert.

"We really could have. It was just one of those things. The ball didn't bounce our way today. But I'm real proud of them," Porusta said. "We're a real young group and we've had a great season so final four is good for us."

Lisbon junior goalkeeper Josh Deem finished with six saves. Moultonborough keeper T.J. Marchand made seven saves. Both teams had five corner kicks.

Lisbon lifted its record to 19-0 and advanced to the D-IV championship game against second-seeded Derryfield (17-2). Derryfield defeated sixth-seeded Littleton (12-4-3) in the semifinals. Moultonborough's season ended at 14-4-1.

Martin Lord Osman
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