Nighthawk Boys' Soccer Team Upsets Joel Barlow
Newtown High School's boys' soccer team upset visiting Joel Barlow of Redding 1-0, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on October 1. With the win, Newtown cut its losing streak off at just two games. The team lost 2-1 to Notre Dame-Fairfield on September 27 and 1-0 to New Milford two days later in a rematch against a team the Nighthawks had beaten the week before.
Jalen Minter assisted Lindi Limani a little past the mid-point of the second half. The Nighthawks improved to 3-4-2, and Barlow fell to 5-2-1. The Falcons had previously lost only to unbeaten Weston in a 1-0 game.
Newtown was seen as the underdog by most. But the tough matchup did not prove to be an issue, as the Coach Charley Amblo's team played a steady game and was able to keep up with Barlow’s fast-paced tempo. “Joel Barlow’s a tough team. We know them from the past; we know what they did last year," said NHS Assistant Coach Justin Stevens, referring to Barlow winning the South-West Conference championship. "I think with respect to our team we played with a lot of patience and discipline.” And that was the case for the entirety of the game. To open the game, Barlow maintained possession for a lot of the time, but Newtown tamed the Falcons who swung the ball around the back field. But about midway through the opening half, Newtown changed the pace with aggressive play leading to many opportunities. In the first 20 minutes, senior captain Limani and junior Minter worked off each other and create chances, just missing the net on multiple occasions. Limani and Minter spread the field with Henry Vaughan and captain Owen Baillargeon, eventually providing Baillargeon with a shot that just missed the net. As the half came to a close, though, Barlow began to put a little more pressure on Newtown, shifting their focus toward Newtown's defensive end. Duncan O'Leary stepped up with a couple big stops in the remaining minutes. And if he was not there goalkeeper CJ Trivers made the saves. After 40 minutes, the hard found half ended with no score. To open the second half, Barlow came out strong, but was met with Newtown’s equally strong resumption. Trivers came up with a few more clutch saves in the start of the half, but that was the bulk of Barlow’s attempts for the remainder of the game. Newtown’s offensive opportunity did not come until Barlow received their first yellow card with 17:59 left in the game. Just 25 seconds following the card, Minter made a spectacular pass to Limani who put the ball into the net. Newtown continued to keep up the pressure, allowing a minimal amount of shot opportunities for Barlow, as well as drawing Barlow's second yellow card of the game. “We certainly had the determination, and the foundation to be successful. It was a matter of execution; in this game, we got the final goal and that was it for us,” Stevens said. “I think we build with this success. Going forward, I think the mindset is that the job’s not done.” Newtown will look to carry this momentum forward in their remaining games and the playoffs.
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