FAIRFIELD >> The Danbury High boys’ soccer team was limited on its chances Thursday evening in the first 40 minutes of play against Fairfield Ludlowe. So early in the second half, the Hatters made sure to capitalize on what turned out to be their only opportunity.
Ten minutes into second half of the Class LL second round game at Taft Field, Danbury’s Jonathan Jamett netted the eventual game-winner off a pass from teammate Esteban Vazquez. Jamett wound up and lofted the ball that was perfectly placed to the back of the net as it barely missed hitting THE crossbar and sailed above the Ludlowe keeper for the score.
The 21st-seeded Hatters went on to defeat Ludlowe 1-0 to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal where they will face No. 4 Glastonbury.
“They (Ludlowe) definitely had more possessions in the first half, and we’re a team that likes to have possession,” Danbury head coach Sean Colley said. “At halftime I asked them what they were seeing on the field, and they said, `We’ve got to keep the ball more.’ We kept the ball on the ground, we didn’t have many opportunities. They are awesome defensively but we did a nice job ourselves.”
Danbury, led by keeper Ian Shannon who finished with nine saves, was pressed all during the first half as the Ludlowe offense was relentless, attacking and peppering shots on target but Shannon came up big finishing with six stops at the half.
“I’m incredibly proud, our keeper played great in the first half,” Colley said. “And the second half he did what he needed to do.”
For the fifth-seed Falcons (13-5-1) Thursday was reminiscent of the offensive struggles of late. The team couldn’t put a shot away when needed.
“(That) seems to be our nemesis the last couple games with being unable to finish,” Ludlowe head coach Kevin O’Hara said. “I thought really the first half we had a bunch of quality chances and unfortunately we weren’t able to put it in the back of the net. Second half Danbury came out, regrouped really fought us well in the second half. They had their opportunity and they finished; credit to them.”
Ludlowe ends the fall after completing its best season in program history where they made the FCIAC Tournament for the first time ever. The Falcons bring back a majority of their roster. O’Hara said the youth may have hurt the team with lack of experience in big games late in the season, but he’s excited for the future.
“Very young team, and that’s where I think some of our problems were this year,” O’Hara said. “When we’ve gotten into these big games the lack of experience of playing in these big games I think hurt us a little bit. We had a great season (and) we’ll be back and hopefully better than ever.”