HADDAM — The score sometimes lies.
So it was Thursday afternoon in the Shoreline Conference boys semifinal soccer match between Haddam-Killingworth and Valley Regional. H-K won the game 1-0 on a second-half goal, but the game ought to go down as one of the most one-sided 1-0 games ever played.
H-K outshot Valley 14-2, with both of Valley’s shot coming in the second half. On top of that, Valley goalkeeper Charlie Haughton was borderline heroic, making eight saves, several of them very good, including a save on a second-half penalty kick.
Meanwhile, H-K keeper Jack Spooner could have set up a desk and done all of his homework as he wasn’t called on to make a save — his only one of the match — until there was just 7:30 left to play.
“At halftime we talked about how we controlled play, but had nothing to show for it,” said H-K coach Denis Recchia. “We finally got one to fall, but their keeper did a great job.”
H-K will play The Morgan School in the SLC championship game Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Portland High.
“This was like the other two games we had with them,” said Valley coach Mick Fearon. “They won the first 3-1, the second was a 2-2 tie, then this one. In every match they outshot us by double digits. So we expected this kind of game and it was typical of the games we played with them.
“They didn’t give us many chances.”
The one save that Spooner made was routine. But H-K certainly had chance after chance after chance.
“I think we had the ball in their end of the field for 35 of the 40 minutes in the first half,” said Recchia. His club outshot Valley 8-0 in the half, but the scoreboard — the only thing that counts — read 0-0.
H-K (13-2-2) finally got the game’s only goal with 35:13 left to play. Ben Marchetti, who leads the team with 24 goals, swooped in from the left, dribbled around a couple of defenders and nailed the back of the net with a rocket that gave Haughton no chance.
The Cougars were awarded a penalty kick with 33:28 showing, but Haughton anticipated Marchetti’s shot and made a diving stop to his right for a spectacular save.
Haughton made a very good save of a shot by Ben McLaughlin (21 goals) with 31:52 left and just got his fingertips on another shot several minutes later, deflecting it just wide of the net.
“We got a very good game from Gabriel Mangiafico,” said Recchia. “He’s our center back and drives everything in the air, which is a big help. And McLaughlin was all over the place. He’s our little devil out there.”
Valley (11-5-2) now awaits the state tournament pairings. The Warriors will likely be ranked 14th while H-K looks to be ranked in the seventh spot. Both will play in the Class M tournament which begins Monday.
H-K thinks this might be its year.
“We have an old team,” said Recchia. “Lots of seniors and juniors. Before the season begin, I thought this might be our window.”
H-K 1, Valley Reg. 0
- Goals: (HK) Ben Marchetti.
- Shots: (HK) 14, (VR) 2.
- Saves: (HK) Jack Spooner 1, (VR) Charlie Haughton 8.
- Records: (HK) 13-2-2), (VR) 11-5-2.