GLOVERSVILLE - How quickly it responded to an early goal was crucial to the success of the Gloversville boys soccer team.
Just over 12 minutes into the game, Johnstown's Jon Bearden lofted a shot over Gloversville goalkeeper Kyle Royal for a quick 1-0 lead.
Less than a half-minute later, Gloversville coach Paul Ligon got the response he was hoping for when Thomas Kirk deflected a direct kick off a defender to tie the game.
Gloversville's Vincent Scott (2) lines up a kick as Johnstown's Steve Camarra (13) moves in to challenge the play during Monday’s Foothills Council game at Gloversville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Kirk went on to net two more goals and complete a hat trick for the game as the Dragons went on to post a 3-1 Foothills Council victory over Johnstown Monday night at Gloversville High School.
"It was a good win for us," Ligon said. "We had to respond quickly. When you give up soft goals it kind of deflates you. We talked about composure and being able to finish games. I thought they composed themselves real well and got the goal back, getting us quickly back on track. We cannot afford to spot people goals."
The early minutes of Monday's game were played on through the midfield with both teams creating opportunities but not being able to finish.
Johnstown struck first when Bearden lofted a long shot from the right wing over Royal's outstretched hands and into the farside netting for a 1-0 edge with 27:53 left in the first half.
The Dragons recovered quickly, pushing the ball forward, which resulted in a penalty call setting up a direct kick 25 yards in front of the Johnstown goalkeeper Andy Camarra.
Kirk fired a low shot that hit a Johnstown defender, altering its flight just out of the diving reach of Camarra to tie the game at one with 27:29 left in the half.
"It could have gone either way at that point," Johnstown coach Mike Hill said. "The first one was a little lucky but we talked about the Kirk kid scoring off the direct kicks. That is what they base their offense on and tonight they just played better than we did."
Kirk added a second first-half goal with 15:37 left on the clock when he turned on a pass into the penalty area from Matt Smrtic for a 2-1 halftime advantage.
Both squads came off the break on a mission and looked to create offensive chances.
Sam Hoover gave the Sir Bills a scoring chance midway through the second half when he put a direct kick on goal that curled just wide of its mark.
Gloversville countered with a breakaway by Jake Crocetta, who slid the ball under Camarra as he charged off his line to challenge the play. Crocetta's attempt rolled across the goal mouth and out of play.
Crocetta again narrowly missed on a hard shot with 8:55 remaining. His attempt deflected off a Johnstown defender and hit the right post before Camarra grabbed the rebound.
Kirk completed his hat trick with 6:14 remaining when he finished a pass from Juan Dador for the 3-1 final score.
"We knew they were going to basically play defensively so we needed to open up the field," Ligon said. "Our midfield controlled the ball and changed the point of attack a lot side-to-side and were able to create opportunities against their back four."
For the match, Gloversville outshot Johnstown 9-4 and held a 7-1 edge in corner kicks.
Camarra notched four saves, while Royal had three.