MILFORD – With just a handful of goals to start the season, the Foran boys soccer team was looking for a spark. That spark came in the form of a throw-in.
Using a James Cronin goal late in the first half, Foran hung on for a 1-0 victory over North Haven in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision contest at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex Thursday afternoon.
“Today, we created a lot of opportunities,” Foran coach Rick DiStefano said after his team improved to 2-4-1 with the win. “But, we have to finish. When you handle the ball as much as we did today, you have to get more than one goal. We will work on it every day.”
The Lions, who scored just five goals in their first six games, needed just under 25 minutes to score the lone goal of the contest. Off a throw-in from senior captain Ryan Young, fellow senior captain Cronin tapped in a loose ball to the right side of the goal with 15:07 left in the opening half.
“It was a huge goal for us,” Cronin said. “It came early in the game and I think it gave us confidence. We were able to defend and get into a rhythm.”
The goal by Cronin would be all the Lions needed in the half as they kept the Indians at bay, relying on goalkeeper Evan Miller to make just one solid save. That save came with 10 minutes remaining in the half when Miller denied a hard shot by North Haven sophomore Angelo Fraschilla from in close.
The Foran defense also played a big role in preserving the lead at the break as a rocket off the foot of North Haven’s Jose Rodriguez eight minutes into the game was deflected wide by the Foran defense.
“I think today came down to work ethic,” North Haven coach Federico Fiondella said after his team fell to 1-6-2. “Foran worked harder, especially in winning the 50/50 balls. I think some of it also has to do with we are playing back-to-back games and the kids are a little tired.”
Foran had a few other opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the opening half, but North Haven junior goalkeeper Riley Powell was up to the task. Powell denied a header by Jordon Brennan off a corner 7:17 into the contest, then denied a header by Glaymer Cardona from 10 yards out with 17:50 left in the opening half.
The second half saw play mainly in the North Haven end of the field as Foran pressured throughout. The Lions were unable to capitalize and add to the lead.
A rocket off the foot of Christopher Goglia sailed over the goal from 15 yards out with 11:30 gone by in the second half, before Young’s shot from 26 yards away was stopped by Powell with 14 minutes gone by in the half.
“We needed to work a little harder today,” Fiondella said. “We played reserved instead of pushing it.”
Foran then had a brilliant opportunity to increase the lead to a pair of goals with 23 minutes to go, but a header by Brennan off a corner kick sailed just wide.
Goglia then had two more scoring opportunities, one off a reverse kick and another from a sharp angle in a span of 3 minutes, but Powell turned each away.
“Today was an all around great team effort,” Cronin said.
North Haven had one final shot at the equalizer with 12 minutes remaining in the game, but Fraschilla’s one-hopper from 30 yards away was stopped by Miller.
“Our defense is playing very well,” DiStefano said. “We are very young back there. This is the first game where we have been 100 percent healthy. This is how we can play when we are healthy.”
Miller finished the game with eight saves for the Lions, while North Haven’s Powell finished with 15.
Foran 1, North Haven 0
North Haven 0 0 — 0
Foran 1 0 — 1
First half—FO: James Cronin (Ryan Young) 15:07;
Shots—NH: 15; FO: 20;
Saves—NH: Riley Powell 15; FO: Evan Miller 8;
Records—North Haven 1-6-2; Foran 2-4-1