No Goal Call, Defensive Breakdown Add Up To Tough Loss
Former Jesuits’ Coach Ryan Lyddy visiting his old digs at Fairfield Prep to take on ex-Newtown Coach Brian Neumeyer and the Jesuits in the second round of the Class LL State Tournament. That would have been a great story, Lyddy acknowledged after his Newtown boys’ soccer team dropped a tough one — 2-1 — to visiting Danbury in the first round, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on November 9.
Instead, it was the No. 19 Hatters who earned that trip to No. 3 Prep thanks to a bad break and what Lyddy referred to as a breakdown defensively.
First, an apparent goal by Newtown, the No. 14 seed in the tourney, was not credited. Danbury defender Naidson Macedo made a sliding play to clear the ball as it went across the goal line. A photo captured by a Newtown parent showed the ball appeared to go barely — but completely — across the line. Don’t forget, officials do not have the luxury of a freeze frame image or instant replay and things happen fast out on the turf.
Too fast for Newtown late in the second half. A 1-0 Danbury lead made possible by a Jefferson Magalhaes goal only a couple of minutes into the contest stood for nearly 70 minutes of game play before the Nighthawks finally evened things on a goal by Harrison Silverman that was set up by Connor Muir and Cameron Whorf. The score was 1-1 with just 10:56 to play.
Brand new game.
But not for long.
Newtown’s Justin Zemo and Calvin Lucas worked to create another chance up the right wing moments later but the Hatters stymied the Nighthawks and went the other way where Magalhaes cashed in again, finishing a pretty passing sequence, less than two minutes after the tying tally. Just like that it was 2-1 Danbury with 9:03 remaining.
“It was up and down,” said Lyddy, whose team allowed one or no goals in 13 consecutive games before a 2-1 loss to Bethel in the South-West Conference Tournament quarterfinals. “That defensive chain broke. They came down on a counter-attack and put it away.”
Thus ending what was a good season for the Nighthawks who went 8-4-3 during the regular slate.
“It was probably our worst game we’ve played all year,” Lyddy said. “It was unfortunate they couldn’t bring it all together tonight.”
The bigger picture saw a good season and some optimism for the future at NHS.
“They worked hard; they had a positive season. We have a good group of kids coming back next year,” said Lyddy, adding that he felt badly for his 15 seniors who helped lead Newtown to this winning campaign.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.