In the opening match, the Gloversville Dragons broke a 1-1 tie with four seconds left in the first overtime period to give coach Jim Yanno his first varsity coaching victory with a 2-1 victory over Fonda-Fultonville.
In the nightcap, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots welcomed coach Brian Henry back to the sidelines with a 2-1 victory over the Northville Falcons.
After kicking off in a downpour, the Braves were able to work the ball against the Gloversville midfield and create solid opportunities only to be turned back by a hustling Dragons defense.
The pressure paid off with 10:29 left in the opening half when Korey Davis took a throw-in from Nick Hastings, passed the ball to Dylan Livingston who lofted a cross to the far post that Tyler Sweet headed home for a 1-0 advantage.
The Fonda-Fultonville defense stepped up as Gloversville picked up its intensity on offense and carried the 1-0 advantage into the break.
With the rain stopped, the Dragons carried the momentum they built late in the opening half, keeping the pressure on the Braves’ defensive line. The pressure resulted in multiple corner kicks and defensive zone throw-ins, but no goals.
That changed with 7:25 left in regulation when Paul Lomanto won the ball deep in the Gloversville defensive zone, dribbled forward before sending a long pass through the Braves defense that Emran Abbas ran onto an finished, tying the match at one apiece.
The Dragons worked for the go ahead goal the could not find a way past the Braves defense as goalkeeper Jacob Sisco came up with big saves, including smothering a close range shot off the foot Feras Masri with just over three minutes left in regulation.
Playing with a sense of urgency in the final two minutes, the Braves pushed forward, creating scoring opportunities that Gloversville goalkeeper Justin Kemmet turned away to send the match into overtime.
“I think in the second half we realized if we could play to ball over the top we were going to have some success,” Yanno said. “We kind of stretched them out and it became effective.”
Fonda-Fultonville put the pressure on the Gloversville defense early in overtime only to have Kemmet come up with the save on a couple of solid attempts.
The Dragons built off the momentum created by their defense and pushed forward. The pressure paid off as Abbas his a shot that bounced off a Fonda-Fultonville defender. James Collar was in position to gather up the loose ball and finish the play with four-seconds showing on the clock to give the Dragons the 2-1 victory.
“The kids really came together. We are really a young group with three seniors and one returning senior from last year,” Yanno said. “I was extremely pleased with their effort throughout the game. Our conditioning has been there. We worked hard in the off season and it showed today.”
Fonda-Fultonville coach Jeffrey Abrey was pleased with the way his team played in their season-opener.
“My boys played hard and we had our chances,” he said. “I think if we passed a little better past the midfield we may have won. We also had some chances in the final 12 minutes and we missed them. They had one and they made it. That was the difference. They all played hard and I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
For the match, Gloversville out shot Fonda-Fultonville 21-16 and held a 7-2 edge in corner kicks. Sisco collected 11 saves in net for the Braves, while Kemmet made nine stops.
In the nightcap, the Patriots and Falcons battled in the midfield as both worked to establish control of the tempo with their passing games.
Northville broke through for the first goal of the match when Ethan Moore’s pass deflected off a Broadalbin-Perth defender and Wyatt Sira was in position to slot the ball home for a 1-0 advantage with 20:50 left in the opening half.
The Patriots went to work to get the equalizer and after solid attempts by Sam Rogers were knocked away by goalkeeper Daniel VanNostrand, finally broke through.
Hunter Monks lofted a corner kick to the far post that Cedric Boehme headed home to tie the match at one with 10:51 left in the opening half.
The Patriots found their rhythm early in the second half and kept the pressure on the Northville backline.
With 37:20 left in the match, Broadalbin-Perth came up with what proved to be the game-winner.
Monks carried the ball along the right sideline deep into the Falcons’ defensive zone before sending a cross toward the far post that David Opalka drove into the back of the net with a diving header to give the Patriots a 2-1 advantage with 37:20 left to play.
“David Opalka’s goal was pure hustle with a diving header off a well-time cross from Hunter Monks,” Henry said.
The Patriots kept the pressure on but VanNostrand came up with big saves time after time, including a diving save to stop Monks’ penalty kick.
The Falcons put together a strong surge in the closing minutes but could not come up with the equalizer as the Patriots notched their first win of the season, 2-1.
“I am very proud of these guys. They are a young squad but they have a hunger and a will to work,” Northville coach Steve Clapper said. “It was very respectable to come out against a good Broadalbin-Perth side and be able to put pressure on and create chances and possibilities. Broadalbin moved the ball very well and we cut down a lot of chances. I think Daniel VanNostrand played huge in the second half and it is great to see that he has raised up to the next level. We will keep working.”
Henry echoed coach Clapper’s comment on the standout performance in goal by VanNostrand.
“He did a tremendous job. He made the save on the penalty kick and some really nice saves on shot that we thought were goals,” Henry said. “He kept them in it for a long time.”
For the match, Broadalbin-Perth outshot Northville 16-6 and held a 10-0 edge in corner kicks. VanNostrand finished with 14 saves in goal, while the Patriots’ Jack Marsden collected five saves.
“We came out of the gates pretty slow and we got penalized for it with the goal that they scored,” Henry said. “You have to give Northville credit. They came here, hustled a lot and won 50-50 balls that we couldn’t get to. What is nice is that it is early and we expected to take out lumps and to work through some things. These guys found a way to scratch out the win and I am proud of them. The season is going to be a work in progress but we have a lot of faith in the guys we have. We will take the win. It is not going to be easy for us. We are relearning the game of soccer. We always tell them you have to learn to crawl before you walk and today we took a few baby steps.”
The teams will return to the pitch at Patriot Field Friday with Northville and Gloversville squaring off at 3 p.m. and Fonda-Fultonville and Broadalbin-Perth kicking off at 7 p.m.
Cherry Valley-Springfield 4, Canajoharie 1
CANAJOHARIE — Canajoharie opened its season with a 4-1 non-league loss to Cherry Valley-Springfield at home Wednesday.
The Cougars’ lone tally came on an own goal by the Patriots.