MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Memorial Girl Crusaders picked the perfect time to have their offense be opportunistic as the Central Little Green carried most of the play but just couldn’t cash in Thursday night at Gill Stadium. The Crusaders won 2-0 in a battle of winless teams.
Central had nine corner kicks to Memorial’s one but Memorial made theirs stick at the 21-minute mark of the second half when Central failed to clear a loose ball and Memorial’s Ryan White punched an alley-oop shot over Central goalie Izzy Bachhuber.
Memorial’s first goal came halfway through the first half as a Central throw-in was stolen and co-captain Payton Moran buried the ball high in Central’s net from 12 yards out. Sandwiched between the scores was a disallowed goal by Memorial because of a push earlier in the second half.
Yes, a win over an archrival is always cause for celebration, but Memorial’s four shots on goal didn’t measure up to Central’s offensive output. Credit goes to Memorial defender Elma Stitkovak for breaking up several scoring opportunities and for her booming goal kicks.
Central’s best chance came in the first half when Memorial goalie Hannah Jenkins stopped a point-blank shot with her body and then went low to thwart a rebound. Another squandered opportunity for Central came when Jenkins roamed too far from goal for a loose ball and Central forward Tianna Mann got to the ball at the same time. Had the ball come off Jenkins’ foot at a different angle, Mann could have walked the ball in for a goal.
Central came out stronger, though both teams played tentatively in the beginning. Central midfielder Mckenna Schneiderman missed an excellent opportunity six minutes into the game, her shot sailing over the crossbar. She missed a similar shot at the 13-minute mark of the second half.
“It was good to get this first victory,” Memorial Coach Nick Gardner said. “Hopefully, we can find some momentum.”
Both teams are home this coming Tuesday with Memorial hosting Dover and Central playing Concord.