The rivalry between Andover and Andover Central was on the minds of Andover’s 14 senior soccer players Tuesday night.
And according to Andover coach Chris Lemons, that was the motivation the Trojans needed to come back from an early 0-1 deficit to defeat Andover Central 2-1 in overtime.
“(Andover’s) kind of sick of being beaten by Central. They like each other but I know my boys are sick of getting beat by them, so the rivalry’s great,” Lemons said. “For 14 of my seniors that could be the last time they will get to play Andover Central, so the fact that they went out and changed the game helped us a lot.”
It was the Jaguars’ first game since Sept. 8, and their sixth consecutive loss.
With 4:20 remaining in the period, Andrew Annett’s corner kick dropped right in front of the goal, allowing Matt Hamm to finish with a header into the upper right corner of the net. Andover Central took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“(The break) kind of gave us time to get composed and gather ourselves, and put those games in the past, but again those were some tough teams to start out the season with,” Andover Central coach Jamie Harding said.
Andover took control of the game in the second half, outshooting Andover Central four to two. Nearly halfway through the period, Andover’s Alex Durano was fouled in the penalty box. Jacob Loflin took the penalty kick and scored to tie the game.
“Durano’s been out with injuries and he wanted to play today; he put himself in the position to get fouled,” Lemons said. “There’s definitely a huge ease (after scoring the penalty kick), but it becomes a chess game after that and we had to figure out ‘do we go for the win, or do we sit back for the tie.’”
With 8:17 left to play in the first 10-minute overtime period, Loflin faced another free kick, this time outside of the 18-yard box. He drifted a shot over the hands of Andover Central goalkeeper to seal the win for Andover.
Scoring from two free kicks does not make this win any less satisfying for Andover, however.
“Of course I want us to have a beautiful goal where we break down the defense and hit an upper 90 shot, or slot a far post, but at the same time a goal is a goal,” Lemons said.
First half—Andover Central, Hamm (Annett). Second half—Andover, Loflin (penalty kick).
Overtime—Andover, Loflin (free kick). Shots—Andover 0-4-2—6; Andover Central 3-2-0—5. Saves—Andover, Brimager 1-2-0—3; Andover Central, Brown 0-2-0—2.