NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys’ soccer team had to put in a little overtime on Monday—double overtime, as a matter of fact, as they battled Watertown to a 1-1 tie. It was not exactly the outcome either team wanted, but there is very little separating these two top teams in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Watertown came in to the contest at 6-0 (four wins by shutout), scoring 22 goals and allowing only two. Naugatuck had been equally dominate in the early part of the season, putting up a perfect, 6-0 ledger (five wins by shutout), scoring 21 goals allowing two.
On the field of play, there was very little that separated these two teams outside of a fist full of jersey or a swift push in the back. It was a physical, bruising affair right from the first whistle, as one would expect.
Watertown drew first blood with 19:32 to play in the opening half, when Andrew Ferrucci put a header between the pipes off a corner from Matt Dwyer. Greyhounds goalie Dan Bronko, who had made several saves already, came out to defend, but the header caught him off-guard and managed to get by.
Naugatuck picked up the intensity in the second half, but several chances came up empty, as the Indians keeper Josh Acuna was sensational in the net. Tempers started to flare as the game became more physical down the stretch.
With 5:28 left in regulation, Ferrucci drew a yellow card from the referee, setting up a Naugatuck opportunity 30 yards from the goal. Manny Nobre sent a direct kick to Richard Mitchell, who fired a shot that just snuck in, past a diving Acuna at the left post, to tie the game at 1-1.
Both teams had chances in the overtime sessions, but the goalkeeping and the defensive play was outstanding. Watertown had the game won with 2:29 to go in the second overtime, as Ferrucci got by the defense and made a charge at the Naugatuck goal with a one-on-one breakaway.
As the Naugatuck defenders tried desperately to catch up to Ferrucci, Bronko came out and kicked the would-be winning goal out of harm’s way for the save of the game.
“The majority of the play was in their end of the field,” Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes said. “We continually put pressure on their goal, and it was just a hard-fought game by both teams.
“In the grand scheme of things, it’s just another game on the schedule, and I’m sure we will see them again come tournament time.”