Shutout by Hounds, hat trick by Martins

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NAUGATUCK — Junior Tiago Martins recorded his second hat trick in as many games, seniors Manny Nobre and Brian Costa each tacked on a goal, and Naugatuck kept its opponent off the scoreboard for the second-straight game as the Greyhounds throttled Wolcott, 5-0, Friday night in the borough.

Martins finally lit up the board with 8:42 to go in the first half after a long defensive struggle between the Hounds and Eagles.

“Wolcott was able to defend us in the first 30 minutes by packing their players in front of the box and hoping we wouldn’t get a shot off,” Martins explained. “On the free kick, I just lined up, found an open part of the net, and shot it as hard as I could.”

Less than seven minutes after the junior connected on the freebie from outside the box, Nobre converted a dead ball of his own from a similar position, utilizing a set confusion play to effectively dupe Wolcott and give his club a 2-0 lead at the half.

“We have that set play where we call out a combination, which lets our guys know who will take the kick,” Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes said. “It’s a very basic play, but it makes the defense have to think about who’s going to take the shot.”

With Wolcott still hanging around in the opening minutes of the second half, Martins took the Eagles out of contention via his second goal of the night with 27:15 left to play. His blast from the front left corner of the six-yard box put the Hounds up, 3-0.

But Martins wasn’t finished. He sewed up his second hat trick with 15:17 remaining with a shot from the right side of the net, making it 4-0 and sealing the victory. Costa tacked on his first goal of the year for good measure with 9:56 left, but it was Martins that stole the show.

“He’s everything we thought he would be, on and off the ball,” Nunes said. “His teammates understand that they should be getting him the ball because he’s playing very, very well right now. But we have to keep getting better.”

Martins also recorded a hat trick in the Hounds’ opener last Tuesday at Crosby and two more goals Tuesday against Sacred Heart, but he gives all the credit for his sensational performances to his teammates.

“I’m making good runs and finishing when I get the ball,” Martins explained, “but the only reason I have two hat tricks in two games is because everyone else is filling their roles perfectly. All we have to do [to win the league] is keep our work rate at a high level because we have the talent.”

While Nunes sees plenty going right for the Hounds, he certainly doesn’t fail to notice any shortcomings in his team.

“We’re moving the ball well side to side and putting the ball in the net,” he said. “But one of my pet peeves is trapping and being able to trap, and we can improve on that. And there have been a lot of balls hitting us that we’ve failed to control, which people will take advantage of.”