Late goals propel Westport to first soccer win
WESTPORT — Tom Yeargin scored two goals and George Macharais had one when the Westport High School boys’ soccer team broke into the winning column for the first time this year thanks to a 3-1 win over Blue Hills Monday afternoon in town.
The turning point in the game came with about 16 minutes left and the score tied 1-1. The Wildcats earned a corner kick which Lyle Rosa headed into the net for the go-ahead goal. However, one of the referees disallowed the goal when he said he saw a Westport player push Blue Hills goalie John Crowley. As Westport players shook their heads in disbelief and a few muttered out loud coach Mark Nardelli asked for a timeout.
“In the past the attitude has dipped a little bit when calls haven’t gone our way,” Nardelli said. “I was just telling the guys that can’t happen. We have to control the things that are within our control. Our attitudes and how we compete, regardless of the calls, are within our control.
“Instead of sulking about a disallowed goal that was questionable we kept charging the last 10 minutes and got a good result, a deserved result.”
The Wildcats, who held a 19-10 shot advantage, returned to the field immediately after the timeout and picked up where they left off.
The ball was punted to midfield where Westport’s Chris Hartnett gained possession and rolled a pass ahead to Yeargin who got a step on the defense. Crowley raced all the way to the top of the box and slid at Yeargin but the Westport forward got rid of the ball before he arrived and it bounced inside the left post. The score came a little over a minute after the timeout.
“I think it was Chris Hartnett that made a real nice pass to me,” Yeargin said. “I thought I could outrun pretty much all their defenders so I did and put it right to the corner of the net.
“Nardelli really knows how to hype us up. During that timeout he gave us a good talk and we finally put the ball in the net.”
The Wildcats quickly regained possession after the ensuing kickoff and pressed the action. This time Lyle Rosa slid a pass across the box from left to right where Macharais ran onto the ball and chipped it into the twine for a 3-1 lead just a minute after Yeargin’s score.
“The last 10, 15 minutes of the game, instead of getting down on ourselves when calls weren’t going our way, we just kept charging and put in two in the last 10 minutes,” Nardelli said. “We put in a lot of work at practice with our fitness level and we’ve got to use and exploit that to our advantage the last 10 minutes.
“If we’re not going to be making runs, if we’re not sprinting the last 10, 15 minutes, that’s unacceptable. We did make them today. We really were intense.”
Blue Hills keeper Crowley deserved a better fate. He stopped Hartnett from inside the 18 early in the second half after a nice dish from Yeargin. Rosa was sent on a breakaway by Yeargin but Crowley won the one-on-one battle midway through the second half. Crowley also stymied Rosa and Hartnett from in close in the first half and finished with 10 saves.
“The ball was popping up. We couldn’t really get our touches down,” Yeargin said. “But I wouldn’t say we were really getting frustrated. We knew eventually we’d get it together and put in some goals.”
Yeargin tallied the game’s first goal 4:54 into the contest. He ran onto a Shane Lees pass and when a Blue Hills defender momentarily lost his balance, Yeargin flew past him. He broke in alone on the left side and got the ball past Crowley.
The Warriors answered, fittingly after their own timeout, off a free kick. Sebastian Gustave set the play in motion by lofting a ball from near midfield into the penalty area. Teammate Joe Fitzsimmons rose and headed the ball closer to the net and Blue Hills’ Randy Desrosiers got his noggin on the ball and sent it home at 15:11.
Westport had an 8-3 edge in shots the opening half and an 11-7 advantage the second 40 minutes. Westport keeper Ryan Martel made five saves and saved his best for last when he quickly changed directions and snagged another headed ball before it could enter the net with two minutes remaining in the match.
Nardelli and his players were happy to get their first win of the season as they moved to 1-1 in the Mayflower League and to 1-4 overall.
“We lost all three games out of the league but those were against really good teams,” Yeargin said. “That was the beginning. We weren’t really playing well together. I think we’re starting to get our chemistry down.”
“The last few games we’ve been working new lineups, new guys in a lot of different positions. A lot of the guys have been working real hard in practice just trying to get organized and stay organized throughout 80 minutes,” said the coach. “In the second half we had the intensity level. We’ve just got to keep building upon this. We made mistakes today but we’ve got to keep progressing as the season goes on and cut down on those mistakes.”