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SOCCER: Anderson defeats Trenton in overtime thriller (PHOTO)
Garrett Nabozny (4) had two goals and his Trenton Trojans held a lead through over half of the game in a battle of DRL undefeated teams Wednesday night. But Richard Hodnicki (12) had other plans and assisted on the game-tying goal with just over a minute left and then went on to score the game winner four minutes into the golden goal overtime. Photo by Larry Caruso
Both teams went into the contest undefeated in the Downriver League.
Southgate controlled the game for much of the first half, keeping the offensive pressure on Trojan senior netminder Matt Smellie.
At the 26:00 mark, Smellie charged 20 yards out of his net to challenge Southgate attackers where senior Gio Manzella made him pay by booting a ball into an empty right side of the net to put the Titans up 1-0.
With just over ten minutes remaining, senior Jacob Bosley made the score 2-0 when he redirected a Robby Palazzolo free kick from midfield into the back of the net for the goal.
That’s when the flurry began.
Trenton senior Garrett Nabozny put on a show for the visiting Trojan fans in attendance as he helped his team score three goals in under three minutes.
Nabozny led a rush downfield and took it in himself for the goal at the 3:13 mark, then drew defenders to him before setting up a wide open Tad Davis on the left side of the net, who connected on a rebound goal to tie the game at two with 2:44 left.
With only 1:18 left before halftime, Davis returned the favor by setting Nabozny up from the right side of the net, where he booted in the goal to give the Trojans a 3-2 lead. Nabozny actually hit the left goal post at the 6:13 mark before the offensive onslaught began, or else he might’ve had a hat trick.
Nabozny did not play in the Trojans’ previous game against Grosse Ile, and Trenton Head Coach Mike Hatfield said his impact on the offense on Wednesday was obvious.
“When Garrett and those guys are going on full cylinders, you saw, we scored three goals in like five minutes. We were all over them,” Hatfield said. “The problem was, we came out in the second half very sluggish and our guys aren’t game fit yet. We had opportunities to extend the game from 3-2 but we didn’t take advantage of it.”
Both teams seemed to be winded after the wild first half, as each team managed only one shot on goal apiece in the first 25 minutes of the second half.
With under fifteen minutes left in the game, Southgate finally began to surge on the offensive end. At the 13:32 mark, Manzella sent a shot soaring at an empty net when Trenton senior defender Brett Chearheart came out of nowhere to make a spectacular diving stop.
The Titans wouldn’t give up though, and with only 1:23 left in the game, sophomore Jacob Meekins scored on a one-timer goal set up by senior Richard Hodnicki, tying the game at three.
Before the game went into overtime, Southgate Head Coach Larry Lankford told his team to stay aggressive heading into the extra period.
“After that last goal, I told the guys ‘this is our game now,’” Lankford said. “When the period ended I told my guys, ‘you have to look at Trenton’s attitude,’ I really thought that scoring that late might’ve taken the wind out of their sails. I knew we had to strike fast, put the pressure on heavy, and see if we could get one in.”
And that they did, as Hodnicki created some havoc in the box before sending the game-winning goal soaring past Smellie into the net at the 6:45 mark of overtime for the win.
Lankford said his team is young and has a tendency to lose its composure, so he was thrilled to see them rally back and win late.
“I’m really proud that they’re showing so much maturity for a young team,” Lankford said. “We blew the 2-0 lead, but we came out and played all 80 minutes. I knew we had talent, but to be 4-0, with this many sophomores, is really exciting. It’s really nice to watch.”
Lankford and the Titans will enjoy the victory tonight before preparing for a matchup with Woodhaven on Friday, the only other undefeated team in the league.
Coach Hatfield said he knew the late goal by Meekins would be hard for his team to overcome but hopes they learn from the tough loss.
“I told them at the intermission, it’s a 0-0 game now,” Hatfield said. “I told them to come out hard and come out fast but Southgate just kept winning the ball in OT when we tried to clear it.
“It’s so tough emotionally to get scored on with under two minutes left. So to have the task of fixing these teenagers, emotionally, with the seven minutes or so you get between periods is just so tough. But the good thing is that no matter what, everybody makes the playoffs. So it’s all about progression for us.”
Trenton, now 2-3, will look to get back in the win column when they face off against Allen Park on Friday.
Last Updated: 9/5/2013 12:08:27 AM EST