BRISTOL - With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Bristol Central boys soccer team was pressuring New Britain’s defense the hardest it had been all game.
After two shot attempts were denied, Adam Jones put a goal in to give the Rams a 1-0 advantage over New Britain.
After holding just a one-goal lead for most of the second half, the Rams got an insurance goal from Josh Cordero on an assist from Diego Naranjo and Bristol Central held on to beat the Hurricanes 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
New Britain goalkeeper Adam Gottner played an outstanding game and denied many strong goal-scoring opportunities that could have turned the game into a blowout.
In the first half, Gottner denied Marcello Delvalle on an extremely hard shot that Gottner deflected over his net at 26:45.
He did about the same on a shot in the second half.
“The save in the second half where he sprawled and one hand saved the ball, pushed it over the net, was the best save I’ve seen this year easy,” Bristol Central head coach Nate Jandreau said. “He kept them in it and he’s a really good keeper.”
Bristol Central controlled the time of possession for the majority of the game.
“We had a lot of the possession, especially in the second half, and I think that’s probably what helped us out,” Jandreau said. “You’re going to gas their legs out when you make them play a lot of defense and I think that’s what we did.”
Both Bristol Central and New Britain had plenty of opportunities to come away with multiple goals in the first half.
The Rams were the team to score the only goal in a sloppy half from both sides.
Gottner made some terrific saves throughout the period.
“We played weak, played soft, we’ve got one man standing, one keeper working hard and everybody else just has to come in and work as hard,” New Britain head coach Garth Lawrence said.
Gottner’s two biggest saves came on opportunities for Marcello Delvalle with 26:45 left in the first and Naranjo, who also had an opportunity to score with 9:56 left.
It was a two-minute period during which the Rams’ offensive attack was overwhelming and that was when Jones scored the goal with 8:49 left in the first half, putting a strike that just got past Gottner from about 15 yards in front of the net.
New Britain missed some easy goal opportunities in the half and had the best chances to score, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the chances.
The beginning of the half was controlled by New Britain for about 10 minutes before Bristol Central took over possession.
With his team up 1-0, Cordero had an opportunity right in front of Gottner after a defensive lapse by New Britain and put the goal in.
“We definitely possessed the ball a lot better than we have in previous games,” Cordero said. “That just allows us to find the gaps and open up to find an opportunity to attack. Once we do that, it’s just all finishing from there.”
Coming into the second half, both teams were looking to shake off the first half performance and start capitalizing on chances.
Neither team saw nearly as many opportunities as the first half.
The Rams continued to control the ball and New Britain looked tired, especially on the defensive end of the field, often relying on Gottner to bail them out with his ability.
“We’re letting back a lot and I think they’re trusting too much on myself because they think I can save anything, but that’s not the truth,” Gottner said. “They’re going to keep on coming at me and eventually they’re going to score.”
Bristol Central moves to 6-3-1 with the win and has been playing better, winning two of its last three games after a rough patch.
The Rams will face a strong Berlin team on Thursday and will be tested on defense by Noah Silverman, one of the better offensive players in the area.
For the Hurricanes, finding an offensive identity to compliment the strong goaltending from Gottner is a must in order to turn around the season.
New Britain fell to 2-8 on the year with the loss and it won’t get easier against Bulkeley on Friday.
“They finished opportunities. End of story,” Lawrence said. “They were the better team. There isn’t much else to say.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan