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Published on September 12th, 2016 | by Staples Soccer


Match report: Staples vs. Danbury

The Staples-Danbury rivalry is long — and lately, heated. In the past few seasons, late-season matches with much at stake have been followed by post-season encounters with even more on the line.

This year, the teams battled in the 2nd game of the FCIAC slate. The Hatters’ return many players from last year’s superb squad — and boast a new, knowledgeable and experienced coach.

The Wreckers had the early pressure, in front of a large Loeffler Field crowd. Will Birch had an early chance, and a subsequent corner kick nearly worked.

But it did not take long for the guests to make their mark. The defense of Matteo Broccolo, Teddy Lawrence, Sam Kantor and Chris Martenson hung tough.

It was a back who created the 1st goal of the match. Kantor’s overlapping run freed up Thomas Nealon. After receiving a pass from Birch — deflected on by Danbury — Spencer Daniels took space, and delivered a clinical strike.

Wrecker keeper Ziggy Hallgarten was forced into a kick save, then a punch save, as the evenly played half continued.

Staples’ pressure continued in the 2nd half. Daniels and Birch earned a free kick, which Nealon dropped in nicely. Anton Mahr headed wide, off a throw-in.

In the 57th minute Steven Rowland scored a gorgeous goal, from Nealon — but was whistled offside.

With Daniel Reid running forward, and Matt Engler and Josh Berman holding firm at midfield, Staples continued to look dangerous.

But the Hatters lurked dangerously. In the 64th minute Hallgarten was forced into a spectacular punch save.

A minute later, Danbury equalized. Hallgarten saved an electrifying bicycle kick, but the Wreckers could not clear and the rebound found net.

Then — after a few good give-and-gos by Staples — the upstaters scored again. This one came after — for one of the only times all game — the Wreckers failed to keep their foes outside. Kaike Nascimento finished.

Staples was not done. With 10 seconds left, a Wrecker free kick from the far right was bobbled by the keeper. Danbury converged, though, and prevented a final shot.

Despite the tough — even brutal — loss, the blue-and-whites were not down. They’d played one of the toughest teams in the state head to head. As one Stapleite — drenched in sweat — said, “That was a really fun game!”

The fun continues Wednesday, with a 4 p.m. home contest against Trumbull. FINAL SCORE: Danbury 2, Staples 1. SEASON RECORD: 1-1-0.

QUICK KICKS: Danbury led in shots, 6-5. Staples had 2 corner kicks, to the Hatters’ 1….

Dave Harrison — former social studies teacher, soccer timer and father of star defender Justin Harrison ’91 — was at today’s match. He lives in New Hampshire, and attends one game a year. He was joined by former Staples varsity coach Jeff Lea, and Neil Brickley ’71 …

The reserves tied Danbury 0-0, in a physical, fast-paced game. Andrew Marshall stood out most strongly for coach Nicky Hoberman’s side, while Ryan Fincher and Brad Cox also played well….

Freshman coach Russell Oost-Lievense started his Staples coaching career with a 4-0 victory at Danbury. Tadeo Messenger scored twice; Carter Bassler and Sam Liles had solo strikes. Keeper Teddy O’Kane, along with Josh DeDomenico, Brendan Lynch and Callum Wisher all had strong games for the frosh.

The amazing Teddy Lawrence. (Photo/Frances Rowland)

Ziggy’s got it covered. (Photo/Frances Rowland)


Which way will Thomas Nealon go? Danbury does not know. (Photo/Frances Rowland)


Thomas Nealon, Daniel Reid and Matt Engler form a defensive wall. (Photo/Frances Rowland)

Ziggy Hallgarten punches clear against Danbury. Helping out are (from left) Josh Berman, Anton Mahr, Teddy Lawrence, Matt Engler, Chris Martenson and Tyler Wright. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)


Josh Berman shakes off a Danbury hold. Sam Kantor and Matt Engler support. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)


The bench, coaches and managers show a variety of reactions, at a tense moment in the Danbury match. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)


Ryan Fincher and Andrew Marshall played strongly for the reserves, in a 0-0 draw with Danbury. (Photo/Alan Frost)


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