Late goal propels MAU to John James title
BENNINGTON — It took more than 78 minutes, but it changed a bit of history.
Emiliano Salazar scored with 1:30 left to break a scoreless tie and push Mount Anthony to a 1-0 win over Burr and Burton in the final of the John James Tournament on Saturday, MAU's first win in the title game over BBA.
"Our energy was good and I think we had more left in the tank at the end. Then we finally got a call to go our way," said MAU coach Mike Molloy.
As coach, Molloy had lost the last four games in the final against Burr and Burton, all by one goal.
The game's first and only goal came with just two minutes remaining. After a scrum for the ball inside the BBA box, an initial shot had to be parried by Hancock, but was ultimately brushed in at the goal line by Salazar. The goal was controversial, as the initial call made by the linesman was that Salazar was offsides.
After a few moments of confusion by both teams and spectators alike, the head referee awarded MAU with the goal, and sealed the 1-0 victory for the Patriots. "They changed the rule [two years ago]. If you're in an offside position when the ball is played and the defender attempts to play the ball [and misses], the offsides is waved," explained Molloy.
The game began slowly as both teams struggled to get any momentum offensively. Constantly on the attack was BBA striker Ben Stewart, who was the focus of the BBA attack and a constant harasser of ball handlers and MAU's goalkeeper Dylan Woodside. Stewart made multiple aggressive runs down the field throughout the half, only to be called offside by the linesman as the ball was played his way.
A few good looks at goal for both teams punctuated what was an offensively benign first half.
"We were a little frenetic, we were skipping the midfield," Molloy said. "I was pleased it was 0-0, because I didn't think we played well in the first half," he added. The second half, however, was entirely different.
Early chances for BBA's Daniel Hathaway, Oscar Loomis, and for the BBA offense on MAU penalties all yielded no goals as BBA upped the intensity.
The Patriots were not about to be outdone however, as a ball from MAU's goalkeeper set up a shot in the box for Joshua Schmid and a save for BBA goalkeeper Joe Hancock. Hancock would be on the hot seat again on an MAU free kick deep in his own half. After a bobble, Hancock secured the save and the deadlock at 0-0.
It stayed that way until near the end when Salazar slotted past Hancock for the winner.
"I give our guys a lot of credit, we found a way to win," Molloy said.
The offensive and defensive players of the game were awarded to MAU's Jeff Potter and Ryan Rogge, respectively.
It's the first time MAU won the James since 2015.
In the consolation game, Brattleboro topped Arlington 1-0 on a Luke Williams goal.
"The crowd was great and for a 1-0 game, I think people got their money's worth," Molloy said.
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