Newtown High School’s boys’ soccer team earned at least a point in each of its first five games heading into a September 26 game against Joel Barlow of Redding. For the better part of the afternoon on September 21, the Nighthawks controlled the ball and dominated in scoring opportunities. The Hawks, however, settled for a 1-1 tie with visiting Bethel at Treadwell Park on September 21.
It was the team’s second tie in a row after losing hold of two-goal lead in a 2-2 deadlock with Masuk of Monroe the week before. Sure, on the bright side, the Nighthawks erased a 1-0 Bethel halftime lead to salvage their second deadlock, but they had about three times the number of scoring chances as their counterparts, and only escaped with the point thanks to a goal by Clay Gattey, assisted by Grant Ricketts.
“I was happy I could get one in,” Gattey said. “It is a little disappointing when you have triple the number of shots and it ends 1-1.”
Gattey placed a low shot into the far corner of the net from the left side of the goal midway through the second half. He narrowly missed converting on another golden scoring opportunity when Bethel goalkeeper Matthew Liquori made an outstanding save by getting his hands up just in time to deflect a Gattey blast over the top of the net.
Newtown continuously got the ball into Bethel’s end of the field but, by not converting just once more, missed out on a chance for the win. The Nighthawks, even so, carried a 2-0-2 mark into this week after having beaten Stratford and Notre Dame-Fairfield to begin the year.
“I thought we were the better group at times and we’ve been the better group, I think, in all our games,” Newtown Coach Brian Neumeyer said. “But we’re not getting the wins, which is disappointing and we’ve got to figure out a way to do that.”
Especially with tough competition awaiting. The Nighthawks wasted no time getting back on a winning note with a 1-0 victory at Weston (now 1-2-2) on September 24. Matt Mossbarger cashed in on a corner kick from Brenton Scott for the lone goal.
The schedule only stands to get tougher. The Hawks, after hosting a 5-0 Joel Barlow team, visit a .500 team in New Fairfield on Saturday, September 28. Unbeaten Brookfield, and teams that picked up three early-season wins, New Milford and Bunnell of Stratford, also await.
Neumeyer acknowledges that his team looks really good at times, and that it is an almost entirely new starting lineup from a year ago. That said, however, he said after the tie with Bethel that he would like to see more consistently strong play from his squad.
“They’re newer, but they’ve been playing soccer for a long time so the expectations are still where they always are in the program,” Neumeyer said.