Winchester Boys Soccer beats previously unbeaten Wilmington, 1-0
Two undefeated teams walked onto the pitch. 80 minutes later, one undefeated team walked off. Winchester is now the only undefeated team in the Middlesex League, with a record of 9-0-2. Wilmington fell to 5-1-4.
After a fairly even first half, in which neither team mounted a serious threat, there were several scoring opportunities in the second half of the game. Only two minutes into the half, Wilmington dribbled the ball past the last defender. Chris O’Connell, Winchester’s keeper, came out of the goal to defend, but Wilmington passed to a teammate 5 yards from the empty goal. Fortunately for Winchester, the shot went wide.
Next it was Winchester’s turn to threaten. At the 7 minute mark, Zach Landau headed a corner kick from the far side to the center of the goal where Nick Stern was waiting to head it in, but a Wilmington defender was able to push Stern off his mark and prevent the goal.
Just four minutes later, Winchester scored the only goal of the game. It came after Wilmington fouled John Downs 30 yards from the goal. Zach Samson took the direct kick for Winchester and placed it perfectly in front of the goal where Kevin Calnan was waiting to head it past the keeper.
Wilmington had another excellent opportunity to score at 24 minutes into the 2nd half. A throw in from the 10 yard line landed in front of the Winchester goal and Wilmington had a clear shot, but sent the ball a foot over the crossbar. Wilmington’s final scoring opportunity was at 13:30 to go in the game. Wilmington had a direct kick from the 40 yard line. Keeper O’Connell attempted to punch the ball away, but he hit the ball high in the air and a Wilmington player headed the ball directly towards the net. Dan Boulanger saved the day for Winchester by filling in behind O’Connell to block the shot and clear the ball.
The excellent defense by stopper Dan Boulanger, sweeper Alexi Taliadouros, and keeper Chris O’Connell gave Winchester its 6th shutout of the year. Reading is the only team to score more than one goal against Winchester. After starting its season with 3 losses (including a 3-2 loss to Winchester), Reading has gone 5-0-2 in its last 7 games, and will provide a stiff test for Winchester in its next game on Thursday, October 11.
Winchester has 5 Middlesex League games remaining in the regular season and is ranked #18 in the state by The Boston Globe.