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BOYS SOCCER: Ortonville Brandon knocks off Lapeer East with Doyon's game-winner

ORTONVILLE – The Ortonville Brandon Blackhawks battled to a 1-0 win over the Lapeer East Eagles in Flint Metro League boys soccer action Monday night.

Ty Thronson set up Kyle Doyon for the game winner with 7:17 left as Thronson fired a cross into the penalty area to Doyon who turned on his defender and fired a low shot into the right side of the net for the game’s only goal.

Overall, a slippery field led to a sloppy game as both teams struggled with their footing much of the night, and players often had troubled directing passes.

The first half was particularly disjointed with neither team really able to create any good scoring chances, though the Eagles glanced a long shot off the crossbar with 13 minute left in the first half. But otherwise, it was a quiet 40 minutes of soccer.

“It’s definitely soaked, and both teams were having problems with it,” Brandon head coach Shawn Lovelace said. “It was ugly. That was the ugliest first half of soccer we’ve had all season,” he added.

But in soccer, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder as Eagles head coach Duane Rowley was pleased with his team’s first half performance, despite the tough conditions.

“I would dare say that was probably the best half of team soccer we’ve played all year, the first half. The second half you could just kind of tell. You have a team that’s a majority of seniors over there and we’re a pretty young team. So I think you see the physicality of the game start to wear on us, and slowly but surely it tips their way,” Rowley said.

The second half proved more eventful, at least for Brandon, as the Blackhawks pressed extra players into the attack trying to find the goal they needed. With Blake Crawford directing the attack from midfield, Brandon was able to generate a few good chances in the second half, including a rocket off the right post by Crawford about ten minutes before Doyon’s goal.

“Blake Crawford played real well in the middle,” Lovelace said. “He controlled the flow of the play and switched the play a lot.” He added that, “Crawford knows the game of soccer. He knows how to play it. He knows where to be. It’s not very often he has an off night, and we’re fortunate to have him.”

Despite the loss, Rowley was pleased with how his young team showed some progress on the night.

“Overall, I’m pleased with our performance. I would have been even more thrilled with a 0-0 tie. But I think the better team won here tonight, and we’ll continue to work hard and try to get better,” Rowley said.

“I give it to Duane and his boys,” Lovelace said of Lapeer East. “They came out and played a good game. They packed it in at the end and made it real difficult for us to put one in the net tonight.”

Another bright spot for the Eagles was the play of junior goalkeeper Sage Payne who had a solid night in goal for Lapeer East, helping the Eagles stay close. “I thought Sage was outstanding,” Rowley said.

On the other bench, Lovelace was a little disappointed with how his team played. “It’s not what we were looking for. We’re looking to build momentum each game, play a little better than we did last game, and we regressed a little bit tonight,” he said.

The win helps Brandon (3-1 Flint Metro League) keep in touch with league leaders Linden, whom they host next Monday. But next up for the Black Hawks is a tricky road trip to Swartz Creek. Lapeer East slips to 1-2-1 in Flint Metro League play ahead of Wednesday’s home game against Fenton.

Last Updated: 9/23/2013 10:24:02 PM EST

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