BRANFORD >> After a not so perfect first few minutes, things were just the opposite for Branford in the final 17 minutes Friday afternoon.
A corner kick from Max Condon went right to Jack Pottenger in the middle of a crowd and he headed the ball into the net with 7:43 remaining to give Branford a 3-2 victory over Amity in a Southern Connecticut Conference showdown at the James MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.
Branford had never led until the 16:29 mark when Aaron Radulski deked Amity goalie William Hunter at the 25-yard line and fired the ball into the lower left side of the net to tie things at 2-2.
Less than nine minutes later, Condon’s corner kick from the left side of the field, just past the Branford bench, sailed almost to the far post and Pottenger went to the top of the net with the header for what turned out to be the winning goal.
“Max had a great ball and put it right on my head,” Pottenger said. “All I had to do was steer it to the back of the net.”
Pottenger said that with the second-string goalie Hunter in the net for the Spartans, the Hornets put a lot of pressure in front of him.
“We were going to have lots of guys on the keeper and make him as stressed out as possible,” Pottenger said. “I was always going upper deck with it, especially with a short keeper.”
It was one of the rare set plays that Branford scored on.
“We’re not known for scoring on set pieces, to be honest with you,” Branford coach Paul Hunter said. “It was a perfect service, great head, back of the net and see you later.”
Amity coach Mike Marchitto vehemently argued that his goalie was obstructed on the play, but his call for the goal to be disallowed went for naught.
“We all saw it from here,” said Marchitto afterwards.
Amity grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in this one, taking advantage of a Branford giveaway as starting goalie Billy Bustos came out of the net to play the ball and Dean Schwartz beat him to it to it and put it in the net with 38:08 to go in the first half.
Branford knotted things at 1-1 11 minutes later when Condon banged a direct kick past Hunter into the left side of the net.
Amity went ahead again, 2-1, with 24:23 left in the half when Jeremy Conn blasted a shot off the inside of the right post into the net past backup goalie Nick Cordero.
Branford is now 1-1 after dropping its season opener to Shelton, 4-1, on Tuesday.
“Kudos to the boys for getting the win as we didn’t want to start the season 0-2 and head up to Xavier,” Hunter said. “We go into divisional play after that, but we have to iron some things out for Wednesday and Friday.”
Amity falls to 0-2. The Spartans lost their season opener as well Tuesday, dropping a 3-1 decision at Wilbur Cross.
“We played well and dealt with a lot of injuries today,” said Marchitto. “The score doesn’t show the hearts that these guys have.”
Nick Cordero had seven saves for Branford, while Hunter had nine for Amity.