Jason Mackey | Observer Reporter
This was literally a bounce that went the Peters Township boys soccer team’s way. A rather helpful one, too.
Despite being outplayed for much of Tuesday’s Section 5-AAA match against visiting Canon-McMillan, Peters Township pulled out a 1-0 win after Big Macs defender Alec Brumbaugh accidentally knocked a corner kick feed from Indians junior Max Lindsay into his own goal in the game’s 68th minute.
“They won 95 percent of the 50/50 balls. They played with more emotion. They played more physical. We got lucky,” Peters Township coach Bob Dyer said. “It wasn’t a game of a lot of chances. We put a ball in a dangerous position. The kid got unlucky. The kid who had the own goal had a great game, too.”
Peters Township (9-0-2, 11-1-2) can now claim at least a share of the section title with a win at first-place Upper St. Clair Thursday night. It’s also the second 1-0 win for Peters Township over the Big Macs this season that was made possible by a late Canon- McMillan error; Peters Township won the first meeting when Bryan Hall scored after the Big Macs (7-4, 11-4) had trouble clearing the ball from in front of their own goal. “This is a big result for us,” Dyer said.
Lindsay’s service on what was just Peters Township’s second corner of the game might’ve looked a little unusual-a two-hopper that skipped off the turf-but it actually was intentional.
“That’s a hot serve,” Dyer said. “On this turf, that’s a tough ball because when it’s wet, it can be very unpredictable.”
The Indians also wanted to create traffic in front of Canon-McMillan goalkeeper James Hathaway.
“It’s just a play, a corner kick, where we drive the ball to the near post, try to get guys around it, try to cause as much confusion as possible,” Lindsay said. “And it worked. It bounced off of one of their players and went into the net.” Which was a shame for Canon-McMillan and Brumbaugh, who’s a standout defender and otherwise played a stellar game, if not for one unlucky bounce.
“One of our best players just miss-hit it,” said Canon-Mc-Millan coach Larry Fingers, whose team’s four losses have been to Upper St. Clair and Peters Township, twice each, all one-goal games. “”He got a little nudge in the back and hit it with the outside of his foot. Just didn’t hit it cleanly. Of all things to happen, with that player, it’s unusual. But I guess it’s why we turn the lights on and play.”
The teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half, with Canon-McMillan getting the only official shot on goal, one of five total on the night. Peters Township’s best first-half chance came in the 23rd minute, for the team’s first corner kick. But Big Macs defender Alec Brumbaugh headed, and then kicked, Max Lindsay’s feed out of danger. Canon-McMillan senior Tyler Lohm had an open look at the goal from about 25 yards in the 28th minute, though his shot attempt sailed wide left.
More of the same in the second half. Troy Eskew almost broke the scoreless with a shot that he rifled from the left flank. But Hathaway dove across the box to stop it before Peters Township got the bounce it needed.
“An own goal is never how you want to go down,” Fingers said. “We’re happy with how we played, but you don’t win many games not scoring goals.”