BROADALBIN - The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots led the Johnstown Sir Bills in the second half when the fog started to rise from the Patriot Field turf during Thursday night's Foothills Council.
It made for what players and coaches referred to as a "weird" second half.
"I couldn't see the ball at all," Patriots forward Ben Bellandi said.
Johnstown’s Jon Heroth attempts a slide tackle to get the ball away from Broadalbin-Perth’s Mark Sylvia during Thursday’s Foothills Council game at Patriot Field in Broadalbin. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
However, the Patriots added two goals in the game's final two minutes as the Patriots topped the Sir Bills, 5-1.
"We scored some really nice goals, but I think, overall, we were looked a little flat at times," Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry said. "I think we were content just knocking the ball around, and if we had opportunities, we'd take them. It didn't have the same sort of feel as it did the last time."
Although like the last time, the Sir Bills (3-7-0 overall, 1-7-0 Foothills Council) had few opportunities on goal. Even though they scored in the first half, Johnstown's only goal came on a direct kick in the 22nd minute when Jeremy Serpa turned Sam Hoover's kick into Johnstown's only goal.
"The guys don't understand, we have to score by running through them and getting a foul like we did," Johnstown coach Mike Hill said. "We're trying to score 4-on-2 back here. They're so quick back there. Every kid is quick."
The Patriots got on the board quickly in the first half when Tucker Wilcox dribbled the ball into the box toward the right goalpost. Wilcox crossed the ball to Bellandi, who lifted the kick off the crossbar and down into the goal.
"It was really important get on top first," Bellandi said. "They're a good team and they like to push. We had to get on top to make sure they didn't get a lead."
Then about eight minutes later, Wilcox scored his first goal of the game, heading a ball from Joe Zarecki over Andy Camarra for a 2-0 lead.
"It was a great flick to me," Wilcox said. "It was fantastic and I just chipped it right over the goalie. It was a clean goal. It was nice."
Then about eight minutes later, Johnstown, which had few offensive opportunities in the game, scored off Hoover's direct kick, as Serpa put the ball past the Patriots' first-half goalkeeper Matt Myers.
"I was stunned when they scored," Bellandi said. "I thought Matt was going to get that. We definitely needed another one because they had the momentum after that."
If the Sir Bills had any momentum after Serpa's goal, the Patriots' A.J. Klemczak took it away in the 27th minute when he fired a shot from about 30 yards away and past Camarra, expanding Broadalbin-Perth's lead to 3-1 at the half.
Then with the opening of the second half, the game turned into a quiet lull as the crowd got quiet and most of the emotion evaporated from the game as the fog rising from the FieldTurf thickened.
"I don't know if it was the fog or what, but it definitely had a weird feel to it on both sides," Henry said. "It was sort of quiet game of keep-away. It was weird and I did mention that to the guys. It felt very uninspired and you can't have that this time of year."
Then with two minutes remaining, the Broadalbin-Perth offense came back to life. Ben Bellandi drilled a shot that ricocheted off Camarra. Bellandi followed his shot and put it in the back of the net for the first goal of the second half.
"I think we just started pushing the last 10 minutes," Wilcox said. "I think we just wanted a couple more goals and got a couple finishes."
Then, with 23 seconds left, Connor Phillips scored the fifth goal for the Patriots (8-2-1 overall, 6-1-1 Foothills Council).
"I think they just focused on putting the ball into space and playing off the ball a little better," Henry said. "Those were two really nice goals, two really creative goals by our forwards. That's what we were trying to do throughout the game, but we just couldn't link up that last pass, and we were able to do it in the last few minutes."
Hill wasn't happy the Patriots managed to get back on the board in the final two minutes.
"It's hard to see with this fog," Hill said. "Can't blame the keeper. It's frustrating. I'd like to see us get out 3-1. It's a moral victory for us, but the score is not how the game was played."