MANCHESTER, N.H. – Samuel Assantha provided a hat trick as the Little Green of Manchester Central easily defeated Goffstown 4-1 at Gill Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Senior Midfielder Haris Suljevic opened scoring on a beautiful strike from 30 yards out just three minutes into the contest, and only seconds later Assantha lost his footing following a challenge near the spot.
Although even Central Head Coach Chris LaBerge admitted the penalty call was a bit of luck, he accepted it and Assantha easily slotted the ball home to the left side of the net for Central’s second goal.
Goffstown was unable to create any chances of their own until Ronnie Morgan’s header toward net in the 15th minute, and they continued to struggle as Central dominated the flow of play throughout the first half.
Assantha’s second goal came in the 54th minute as he deftly avoided a tackle in the penalty area, sending the ball past the outstretched arms of Goffstown goalkeeper Myles Green.
The hat trick came in the 61st minute thanks to the work rate of Suljevic, as he grabbed a rebound off his own shot seconds earlier. Recapturing possession near the right corner flag, Suljevic whipped the ball back toward a rushing Assantha who easily headed the ball in for his final goal of the day.
“Sammy’s one of the top forwards in the state. He had a typical Sam Assantha game, dangerous whenever he gets the ball,” said LaBerge. “It was good to come out quick, everybody got out to play and it was good to see them under a little bit of pressure.”
Morgan earned Goffstown’s only goal seven minutes later off another cross which caromed off his back and into the net.
The win puts them at 2-0 on the year following a 2-1 victory against Londonderry earlier in the week. They’ll seek to make it 3-0 with a trip to Nashua South on Tuesday.
Across town, Manchester Memorial fell to Londonderry 1-0, putting them at 0-2 after their opening 1-0 loss to Nashua North. They will seek to duplicate Central’s Friday with a trip to Goffstown on Tuesday.
In other boys’ soccer news from Manchester’s schools, West fell 7-1 after their opening win against Kearsarge, they will travel to Stevens and Merrimack Valley this week.
In Division III, Trinity won 1-0 against Sanborn to put them at 2-0, and Hopkinton handed Derryfield a 1-0 opening day loss.