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NHIAA Boys' Soccer: Rub of the green goes to Londonderry

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 22. 2018 11:51PM
Pinkerton's Alex Rust gets airborne in a battle with Londonderry's Keith Fletcher during their match at Londonderry High School on Saturday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

LONDONDERRY - Rivalries tend to bring out the best in teams. The Pinkerton Academy boys' soccer team showed as much in last season's Mack Plaque win over Londonderry as the Astros went on to win their next 10 games.

The Lancers are now looking for a similar springboard toward better things in 2018 after coming through with a gritty 2-1 win over the Astros on Saturday at Lancer Park. Luck was on the Lancers' side as forward Tyler Van Avery netted a bizzare go-ahead goal early in the second half before defense reigned supreme the rest of the way.

Londonderry pulled back to .500 (4-4) on the season while snapping a three-game losing skid.

"These types of games like today are the ones we need to come ready to play with great effort. We played the way we needed to in order to get this done today," Londonderry coach Todd Ellis said.

The Van Avery strike was an improbable one to say the least. The senior lined up a free kick from the right corner and curved it in on Pinkerton keeper Max Fairbank, who had the ball bounce off him twice and the near post once before it trickled into the net.

Keith Fletcher got Londonderry off and running in the first half when he lofted a 25-yard shot to the far upper-90 for a 1-0 lead. The score stayed that way until five minutes out of halftime when a Pinkerton counter turned into an Alex Rust goal to tie the game.

Possession was even between the two clubs until the Van Avery goal, which ended up revving the Lancers' engines up front. Londonderry dominated possession during the final 10 minutes of the match as Pinkerton was unable to create a turnover and produce any forward momentum.

The Astros (5-3) were not without their share of opportunities, especially when it came to set pieces. Pinkerton generated just one goal despite having six corner kicks and eight free kicks on Londonderry's half of the field.

"We talked about it halftime. Having opportunities and not taking care of business," Pinkerton coach Kerry Boles said. "There were a ton of unforced errors. We can handle physical mistakes and fix mental mistakes, but it's hard to fix when they're unforced."

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