CONCORD – The weather couldn’t have been better for this year’s Kicks for Cancer fundraiser at White Field in Concord-Carlisle, and the Reading High men’s soccer team overcame a 1-0 deficit in the half time to defeat Woburn, 3-1.
The Rockets (4-0-1) are tied for first with Arlington while the Tanners are now 2-2-1.
Woburn took a 1-0 lead late in a competitive first half. The Tanners had a few opportunities to extend their lead in the opening minutes of the second before Reading equalized the game in the 43rd minute. The Rockets went ahead to stay with 3:30 pm to go before securing an insurance goal with 3:40 to go.
“In the first half we changed shape, put two in the lead and scored that goal,” said Woburn coach Roy Gomes. “At the start of the second half we felt good that we were down 1-0, then there were some unfortunate games.”
“The message was straightforward at half-time,” said Reading coach Dan McGrath. “We played well in the first half, but sometimes we lacked a bit of energy. We completely turned the tide in the second half. I told them, ‘Hold your head up and smile, everything is fine. well, that’s 40 minutes. We “We don’t score in the second half, we score more,” and that’s what they did. “
The game was fast and intense throughout, and scoring opportunities were hard to come by in the first half. Woburn goalkeeper Bryan Santos made the game’s first great save about 10 minutes later, stopping on a close shot from Reading’s Ryan Connolly.
The Tanners’ goal came with 6:31 left in the half on a transition race. Gabe DaSilva took the ball off the left side, cut towards the net and gave a beautiful ball to a Matheus Donascimento, who touched the ball inside the near left post for the 1-0 lead.
Donascimento nearly scored his second in the opening minutes of the second half, but he fired a shot from the left post. Another Woburn player was in the box with Reading goalkeeper Eric Pettorossi out of the net. There were a few Rocket defenders and that may have influenced his strike as the ball went over the net.
Just under three minutes later, Reading got a free kick deep in the right corner to Woburn’s side. Matt Geraghty took the hit and Shane Loughman headed a perfect header into the left side of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rockets had a few close calls in the 20 or so minutes between goals, including hits from Geraghty and Darren Ryan going over the bar.
Santos made a nice close save on Thomas Kessinger, and Patrick Frank jumped on the rebound and put it in the net to give Reading a 2-1 lead. An inadvertent whistle sounded at one point leading to a long discussion, but the goal was met.
“I thought it was a fairly balanced game but we had a little lack of composure in front of goal,” Gomes said of the missed opportunities. “They are the best team in the league and they showed it today. We’re going to have to improve a bit to compete with them.”
“They went there and they deserved it,” said McGrath, of his players taking the lead in the second half. “Woburn are a great team. They are physical and talented kids with the ball, they put a lot of pressure on us, but we finished when we needed to.”
After the Rockets moved in front, they had a few chances to get an insurance tally, but Santos refused. He made a big save on Michael Harden, and another nice save on a free kick from Geraghty.
Woburn had a great chance to match him in a flurry near the Rocket’s net. The play was on the right side of the box when a ball passed to the other side. A Tanner half-back ran over and punched a shot towards the net, only to have Eric Pettorossi to come up with the point-blank save.
Connolly put the finishing touches to Reading’s victory with a perfectly placed free kick from 30 yards that went under the crossbar and within reach of Santos.
“I think the boys have to stay together, I hope to have a good week of training, go to the next game and move on,” Gomes said. “But it was a great vibe, a great reason we were here – for our loved ones who passed away and for Dana Farber – so we’re all proud of ourselves. Obviously these guys wanted victory to feel a little better. , but you’re in competition and that’s all you can do, and you hope for the best. “
“This day is special for a lot of us, and the boys knew it,” McGrath said. “They dug in that second half and they found it. It was a great win on an incredible day.”