NORTHVILLE - Brandon Smith was in the right place at the right time.
With less than three minutes remaining in overtime, Smith redirected a cross from Todd Briggs on the left side past Northville goalkeeper Dylan Spencer, giving the Mayfield Panthers a 2-1 win over the Northville Falcons on Wednesday.
"I just saw Briggs getting ready to cross it over," Smith said. "I called for the cross and it was just there."
Mayfield’s Matt Messina shields the ball from Northville’s Tyler Henderson as he looks to make a play during Wednesday’s Western Athletic Conference boys soccer game in Northville. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
The goal was a welcome sight for the Panthers (11-4 overall, 9-4 WAC) after they dropped an overtime decision, 3-2 to Galway on Monday.
"I think it was a good bounce-back game after our tough, overtime loss against Galway on Monday," Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. "Obviously, I didn't want to have to suffer through another emotional overtime game, but the guys pulled together."
Smith's goal followed 57 minutes of scoreless play after the Falcons (8-5-2 overall, 6-5-2 WAC) tied the game in the 36th minute on a goal by Jimmy Grega.
The Falcons entered the game, coming off a 2-1 loss to Mekeel Christian Academy on Monday on the same field.
"Another heartbreaker, but it shows right now that we're playing very well," Northville coach Steve Clapper said. "We're playing good teams and right now, our sights are on playoffs. These games are preparing us for what we need to do in the postseason."
The Falcons dominated most of play in the beginning of the game, but were unable to get the ball past Mayfield goalkeeper Lucas VanNostrand.
Then, as soon as the Panthers took control, Dylan Toscano nearly got them on the board, due to a mistake by Spencer.
Toscano shot a bouncing ball toward Spencer, who bobbled the ball and it skipped behind him. Spencer was quick enough on his feet to get back to the ball and kick it out of bounds before it crossed the goal line.
Mayfield squandered that opportunity, but Toscano put them ahead with in the 22nd minute.
Toscano headed a cross from Josh Ivancic inside the near post, giving Mayfield a 1-0 lead.
It was Toscano's 30th goal of the season.
"They were a little low on energy in the first half, I thought, but in the second half, they came together and were able to pass the ball a little better," Caraco said. "We had a lot of chances in the second half and I thought we were unlucky not to finish it at that point."
The Panthers had a chance to take a 2-0 lead four minutes later as Todd Briggs took a shot from outside the 180-yard box, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and straight down to Spencer.
Northville grabbed the momentum on Grega's goal, which was assisted by Tyler Henderson, with 4:36 to go in the half.
"I think we're starting to come together as a team," Clapper said. "We're starting to play, not as individuals, but as a collective team, and I think that's how we're going to make things happen in Class and that's our ultimate goal."
Both teams had chances to put the deciding goal in the second half. Five minutes in, Briggs had a shot go high and then a few minutes after that, Henderson put a shot on target that was deflected at the last second by VanNostrand.
Mayfield had the most chances, and a golden shot with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. Toscano sent a direct kick in from the left, but Jordan Ryder's header hit the goal post and a rebound shot went high. Spencer also rolled onto a shot by Ryder with 40 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
"I think both teams were very well skilled and well coached," Clapper said. "Both teams had the possibility to move forward. We were both able to create opportunities to have chances."
The win in overtime gets the Panthers back on the winning track after Monday's loss. They will finish the regular season Friday night against Mekeel Christian Academy.
"The loss on Monday took a lot of wind out of our sails," Caraco said. "This does a good job of righting the ship and getting us going back in the right direction."