JOHNSTOWN - The Gloversville Dragons have knocked on the door several times this season but were unable to break through for their first victory.
Tuesday night the door finally opened when Vinnie Scott finished a cross from Thomas Kirk to lift Gloversville past Johnstown 1-0 in Foothills Council action at Johnstown High School.
"He was in the right spot," Gloversville coach Paul Ligon said. "We have been preaching all year that the outside middie has to stay on the outside post for just that kind of bouncing ball coming across. It was just a beautiful set up by Thomas and a beautiful goal by Vinnie."
Gloversville’s Alessandro Ciuci (21) plays the ball forward while under pressure from Johnstown’s Jeremy Serpa (5) during Tuesday night’s Foothills Council match at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Although neither team gained control of the match in the opening 40 minutes, Johnstown had the better of the play.
The Sir Bills created opportunities in the Gloversville defensive zone but were denied good angle shots on net.
Johnstown's strongest attempt came just over seven minutes into the game when Brandon Spaid ran onto a through ball behind the Gloversville defenders. Spaid came in one-on-one with Dragons' goalkeeper Nick Cirillo who stretched out to slap Spaid's shot wide of the goal for the save.
The Dragons opportunities, including one in the final two minutes of the half, were cleared by the Johnstown defense or were either cut off or gathered in by goalkeeper Andy Camarra to send the match into halftime in a scoreless draw.
The Sir Bills came out strong after the break and immediately put pressure on the Gloversville defense, and Sam Hoover narrowly missed connecting on a 20-yard shot that sailed over the crossbar six minutes into the half.
Five minutes later Kirk put a solid attempt on net for the Dragons with his long shot that Camarra knocked down and then recovered for the save before the Gloversville front line could finish the play.
Johnstown put together an offensive surge that created several opportunities.
With just under 27 minutes left in regulation, Elijah Hill ran onto a cross and fired a shot on net that Dragons' defender Spencer Satterlee stepped in front of to deflect away.
Hoover again put a long shot on net that narrowly missed its mark and also pushed a long pass forward to Joe Henderson that was cleared over the end line by Gloversville's Adam Sleezer.
Hill received a long pass and dribbled toward goal with a Gloversville defender on his shoulder before being ridden off the ball.
Gloversville attacked off the play, getting the ball forward where Kirk took the ball into the left corner before sending the ball across the goalmouth that was stepped over by C.J. DeVito and finished by Scott with 18:30 left to play.
"Thomas usually plays in midfield, but we weren't quick enough up front so I made a change in the middle of the game to create more opportunities," Ligon said. "He is good on the ball and knows where to play the ball."
Johnstown coach Mike Hill said, "I thought there should have been a call on the play. We didn't get the call and they came down and scored."
Both teams picked up the intensity of play after the goal.
The Sir Bills just missed collecting the equalizer with 6:22 remaining when Austin Vogel's attempt out of a crowd in front of the goal deflected over the top.
Johnstown got a final attempt in the closing minutes but Cirillo beat Spaid to a long through ball into the box to preserve his first career shutout.
"I thought we were a little fast in the first half and were too vertical," Ligon said. 'We did not possess very well at all in the first half. When we got it to the carpet and started moving the ball around we found some space on the field behind the defenders."
For the match Johnstown out shot Gloversville 14-13 with both teams receiving four corner kicks. While both goalkeepers were active away from their lines, Cirillo was called on to make eight saves, while Camarra stopped seven.
"We just couldn't put the ball in the net," Coach Hill said. "It was a great game; they just wanted it more than us tonight. The kids played hard and I couldn't ask for more from them."
Ligon said the Dragons are looking at the victory as a stepping off point as they begin the second half of the season.
"It is a win we had to have," he said. "Hopefully, it will give us momentum going into the second half of the season. Glens Falls is next and we played them tough the first game. Hopefully this is the turning point we needed to get going again."
Gloversville and Johnstown will meet two more times this season. They will square off again on Oct. 8 and again on Oct. 22.