JOHNSTOWN - After finding themselves down 2-1 after an own goal, the Gloversville Dragons rallied in the second half to defeat the Johnstown Sir Bills 3-2 Thursday night in a Foothills Council battle at Johnstown High School.
The win was the first for Gloversville (3-8-0 Foothills, 3-10-0 overall) since they defeated the Sir Bills (2-9-0 Foothills, 2-10-1 overall) on Sept. 16.
As with any Gloversville-versus-Johnstown affair, Thursday's match featured intense play, hard tackles, and jawing back and forth between the two sides from start to finish.
Johnstown’s Sam Hoover (7) controls the ball in front of Gloversville’s Juan Dador during Thursday’s Foothills Council match at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
With everyday goalkeeper Andy Camarra out with a concussion, Johnstown turned to sophomore Gino Young to handle the keeper duties. Gloversville's Jake Crocetta notched the first goal of the game after a corner kick seven minutes into the first half. The Sir Bills struck three minutes later. Jacob Billa made a beautiful pass to Elijah Hill, who headed the ball past Gloversville goalkeeper Kyle Royal. Johnstown took a 2-1 lead thanks to some miscommunication by the Gloversville defense. As Royal leaped to make a stop, Matt Smrtic deflected the ball into his own goal while trying to head the ball over the crossbar.
Gloversville head coach Paul Ligon explained what he told his team after the defensive lapse as tensions were high in the rivalry game.
"There's a lot of soccer left," said Ligon. "We've been playing well all night and we've been controlling the ball. Let's just get it back and now we've got to get two."
Thomas Kirk had a chance to tie the game with three minutes remaining in the first half, but Young made a diving save to stop Kirk's rocket.
While the first half was evenly played by both teams, Gloversville thrived in the second despite playing with only 10 men. The Dragons took advantage of another corner kick early in the half when Spencer Satterlee found the back of the net to even the score at two apiece. Gloversville maintained possession of the ball for much of the half, outshooting Johnstown 10-2. Cam Stewart made a run before finding Kirk for the go-ahead goal with 25 minutes remaining; the goal was his team-leading ninth of the season. Following the goal, Young was pulled and replaced by Jon Heroth.
"It's a tough thing for him" said Hill. "He did a great job when he was in there but I should have put Heroth in there right from the start. The big kid takes things out of the air but I thought we needed him on the field."
Austin Vogel put Johnstown's first shot of the half on goal with 19 minutes remaining, but the Sir Bills were never really a threat as the clock wound down and Gloversville celebrated their regular season series sweep.
"We were down but not out," said Ligon. "It's a tough win and they gritted it out. It's what we've been looking for all year with intensity and we finally put together an 80-minute game."
Hill echoed Ligon's sentiments.
"They just had more intensity," said Hill. "It was a great win for them. The best team won.
Gloversville will look to put together their first 2-game winning streak of the season when it hosts Scotia-Glenville on Wednesday. Johnstown's next action will be on Tuesday at home against Hudson Falls.