DANBURY — With much of its starting lineup on the trainer’s table and a three-game week against FCIAC contenders, the Danbury boys soccer team is already having its mettle tested early in the season.
The grind continued Wednesday against Fairfield Ludlowe, with the Hatters earning a 0-0 draw despite the Falcons testing the Hatters’ defense for a sizeable period midway through the match.
Both squads moved to 1-0-2 with the result while the Hatters kept their streak without conceding a goal to start the season alive.
They’ve needed that as injuries to several forwards have decimated Danbury’s bite up front. Creative forward Felipe Alves was the latest to hit the sideline with an ankle problem suffered against Staples on Monday.
“We just don’t look like scoring right now,” Danbury coach Antony Howard said after his team’s second straight goalless draw. “It’s early on in the season but we need to find creativity from somewhere. … In that final third players have to play it how they see it.”
A quiet opening 30 minutes was followed by several quality chances for the Falcons. Ludlowe came closest to scoring in the final three minutes in the first half as Carson Rush headed the ball over the net from six yards out. Moments later a cross into the box was shot right at Danbury goalie David Mollenthiel.
“We had some opportunities and I thought we should have got one in the first half,” Ludlowe coach Kevin O’Hara said. “We started pressing a little more in the second half, we started pushing up a little bit and kids were working a little harder.”
Danbury managed to get forward more often in the second as well, but many of its balls were sent into the waiting arms of Ludlowe goalie Cam Pelle, who split time with fellow junior Max Pfleghar.
The Falcons are also trying to find their footing while integrating many new starters. That inexperience showed last time out when Ludlowe let a 2-0 lead against Brien McMahon slip away late in a 2-2 draw.
“We have a good bit of depth with 15-17 guys I can go to,” O’Hara said. “We’re a young team that doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience. I’m hoping as we go and the kids get more comfortable and understand what we’re trying to do, that we can piece things together and play better soccer.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
David Mollenthiel, Danbury: Quick to come off his line and in position to make several key stops, Mollenthiel was much busier than he was in the Hatters 0-0 draw with Staples on Monday.
“That’s a good thing because he’s going to be called upon,” Howard said. “He seemed comfortable; we’re going to call upon him because it seems like we’re not going to score a lot of goals.”
Ludlowe had one more surge midway through the second half and almost came away with the winner. Mollentheil made a save on a one-on-one chance after a Ludlowe forward broke the offside trap at midfield. The ensuing corner was headed just over the bar.
“I think we could have won the game today, but we shouldn’t have,” Howard said. “If we had got all things firing we could have won the game, but we didn’t. We didn’t deserve to win, I think it was a 0-0 game all the way through.”
DANBURY 0, LUDLOWE 0
LUDLOWE0 0 — 0
DANBURY0 0 — 0
Records: Ludlowe 1-0-2, Danbury 1-0-2. Goals: Goalies: L— Max Pfleghar (1 save); Cam Pelle (3 saves); D-David Mollenthiel (7 saves).