A barrage of goals late in the first half allowed the North Adams boy’s soccer team to cruise to a 4-1 victory over the Ripley Blue Jays, but all was not sunshine and puppy dogs on the Green Devils’ sideline after the game was called with 10 minutes left due to darkness.
“I’m really disappointed,” North Adams Head Coach Ike Wooten said. “This is a team that I thought we should have put double digits up on and had a shutout. That’s what I’m most upset about. My main priority every game is to shut other teams out because you can’t lose when you shut other teams out and we failed to do it against a team that we definitely should have done it against.”
The scoring started early for North Adams when a corner kick taken by junior Ben Figgins found senior Aaron Pertuset inside the six-yard box. The ball deflected off Pertuset’s thigh and dribbled into the back of the net for the opening goal about five minutes into the game.
Pertuset began causing more problems for the Ripley defense when he got to the goal line inside the six-yard box towards the left side and put in a pass that found junior Austin Parks around the back post, but the attempt went just wide.
Minutes later, North Adams missed a golden opportunity to go up 2-0 when they were awarded a penalty after a Ripley handball in the penalty area. Senior Kaleb Kendall didn’t strike the chance well and the ball was sent on the ground straight ahead to the waiting hands of the Ripley keeper who bobbled the chance. Kendall was given a yellow card when the referee determined Kendall attempted to kick the ball out the keeper’s hands after the initial bobble and the score remained 1-0.
After numerous other chances that sailed over the crossbar, Ripley equalized on their first goal of the season for the Blue Jays when their striker found space inside the box, was able to dribble in and beat senior Drew Coppock one-on-one to even the score. with less than 10 minutes to go in the first half.
That prompted an immediate response from North Adams who quickly answered with a goal of their own when Pertuset took a pass into the box, took a touch to his right, then crossed his defender back to the left and beat the keeper near post to regain the lead with six minutes to go before halftime.
North Adams quickly earned another corner kick and the kick found junior Patrick England unmarked around the penalty spot and England rifled a shot into the goal for the third of the game for the Green Devils despite Ripley protests that England controlled the ball with his hand.
With two minutes left in the half North Adams struck again when the Green Devils earned a free kick and Pertuset caught the Ripley defense napping with a well-timed run. Pertuset received the pass and found junior Kain Turner at the far post for the fourth goal as Ripley again appealed for the goal to be disallowed feeling Pertuset was offside, but the official disagreed sending the teams into the half at 4-1.
“There were two different first halves,” Wooten said. “The first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes looked a lot different than the middle 20 minutes. We moved the ball well in the first 10, moved the ball well in the last 10 and played a little game of kickball during the middle and thought we could beat people long, which at times we could but you don’t need to rely on that.”
The second half saw far less action and no goals as North Adams was able to create multiple chances, but was helpless in beating the Ripley goalkeeper for a fifth time.
“We’ll look at the film and probably see 15-20 shots within 10 yards that at the very least put them on frame,” Wooten said. “They don’t need to be blasts or anything but give yourself a chance to put them into the back of the net.”
The final portion of the second half saw some of the reserve players get some game experience, but far less than what Wooten initially planned on before the game started.
“That’s why I’m this upset because we should have been up 8-0 in the first 20 minutes and then I could have had my reserves play for another 60. The upperclassmen are really doing a disservice to the younger group. As you’ve seen the younger group plays well, they move the ball well and if they got a little more time in who knows where they could be. But I need the upperclassmen to step up and do their jobs so I can get them in a little more.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or email@example.com.