GROTON — Sean Wisbey’s Groton-Dunstable Crusaders knew they had to strike early in their match Tuesday at home against Hudson. That is exactly what they did as senior winger Mat t Straw rippled the mesh with the eventual game-winner just 40 seconds in.
“I told these guys that with the holiday weekend, Hudson would come out very slow,” Wisbey said. “We needed to score quickly on them. You saw two goals in the first five minutes. Once we had the two goal lead and command of the play, we were able to slow the game down and do some of the things we did well.”
With the win, Groton-Dunstable leaps above .500 at 6-5-2, needing just one win in its remaining three matches to qualify for districts.
Groton-Dunstable senior captain and goaltender, Connor Maguire, returned from a nagging quadriceps injury.
“We need just one win in our next three decisions,” Wisbey said. “We need to keep pushing towards playing better soccer and slowing the game down. We need to start to finding our thing. It’s not quite there, yet. We have three weeks to perfect it. There are three weeks in the tournament. We are in a push to get a good finish.”
Maguire stopped nine shots in his first game back in more than three weeks.
Also making his way off the injury list was junior forward Matt Tornaritis. Tornaritis has been hampered by a lower leg injury, but he is slowly starting to get back to pre-injury form.
Senior captain Dan McGuinness fed Straw down the far right side of the pitch. McGuinness’s pass caught Straw in stride. Straw was able to settle the ball at his feet and beat the Hudson goalkeeper to make it 1-nil in favor of the hosts just 40 seconds into the match.
Three minutes later, McGuinness secured his second point of the match with a goal of his own. McGuinness dribbled down the middle of the pitch and let loose a bender that soared just out of the reach of the Hudson goaltender, to make it 2-0.
Hudson’s top shot of the first half came in the 20th minute off the cleat of senior Marc DeLeppo. DeLeppo drove a meandering free kick into the penalty area, but Maguire climbed the ladder and got a fingertip on the ball and knocked it over the crossbar.
Lucas Medeiros and DeLeppo continued to try and break through the Crusaders’ backline anchored by Anthony Resca and Ryan Hardy. Tyler Poitras had a remarkable game at the midfield with some key clearances.
Groton-Dunstable kept its foot on the accelerator in the second half, but solid defense from Hudson deterred any more Crusaders’ shots from sneaking through.
Hudson pushed its attackers up in the final 10 minutes of the match, but the tactic played into the hands of the savvy Crusaders’ side. Groton-Dunstable milked the clock with its possession-based style of play and is in control of its own destiny from here on out.
The Crusaders will host Bromfield in a non-league match at a time, still yet to be determined. “Hopefully, we can put it all together in the end and try to make a run at it,” Wisbey said. “These guys (Hudson) just beat Marlboro. I’m overall pleased. Ryan Hardy and Anthony Resca have done a nice job in the middle there.”