FOXBORO, Mass. – As teams enter the final weeks of the regular season and points are at a premium, Foxboro and Attleboro settled for one apiece as they fought to a 0-0 draw at Sam Berns Community Field.
Despite dominating the majority of the first half, and recording more scoring chances in the second half, Foxboro was unable to find the back of the net, hitting the crossbar once and being stopped by Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus on other attempts. Meanwhile, the Bombardiers continued to be frustrated by the Warriors’ high pressure and their lone serious chance of the second half was blocked away before Bobby Harrison was forced into a save.
“We have to pick up points,” Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino said. “The guys fought hard, I thought we were the better team today. We were knocking it around, we had the possession and we had the chances. You just have to keep grinding, it’s been the nature of the season so far. The boys aren’t quitting though, it was just unfortunate we didn’t get a goal.”
After Attleboro registered the first scoring game in the 13th minute – a sequence between Aidan Lancaster and Ahijah Joseph resulting in a shot over the bar from Nick Lawrence – it was essentially all Foxboro for the final half hour of the opening stanza.
In the 25th minute, Beigel sent in a low service to the near post where freshman Joe Cusack got a touch to it but Hasenfus cut the angle down and got just enough to keep it out.
Three minutes later, after a corner was partially cleared, a service from Will Regan eventually was deflected to Barreira, who volleyed a rocket right off the crossbar and out.
The Warriors had two chances in the final minute with Spinney finding Cusack at the near post but his shot was wide and then Cusack returned the favor by playing Spinney in but Hasenfus denied his shot to send the teams into the halftime break scoreless.
“The first ten minutes is a feeling out period, looking at the formation they are playing, matching up players, have to be defensive minded in that first ten minutes,” Franchino said. “But once we got in a groove, we pushed players on and I thought we had the better play and the better opportunities.”
“We’ll take any tie because our goal is to get points,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We need points, we have four left so any point is great. Obviously [Foxboro] played better than we did, we got lucky because they hit the bar and they had a few opportunities. But we’re going home with a point so that’s excellent. It was one of our weakest games. We just had our best game last game and it was 0-0 then too. We dominated that game but here today, no. Foxboro was hungry, they were winning the 50/50 balls and had opportunities. The first half was all them. I don’t usually call timeouts but Foxboro was just putting pressure on us.
“The second half was more even but they still won more of the 50/50 balls. Anthony [Barreira] is deadly around the area. He’s a big boy, he’s got a good touch so he’s difficult. Harry [Lancaster] does a good job with anybody and he did with him.”
The Bombardiers registered the first chance of the second half when Austin Champagne pounced on a loose ball off a corner kick but his bid was blocked.
Foxboro’s AJ Bubencik had a shot from just outside the area saved by Hasenfus in the 57th minute and Barreira had a similar shot smothered by Hasenfus in the 61st minute.
“He’s been solid,” Pereira said of Hasenfus, who notched his sixth shutout of the season. “He talks, he gets the kids going, the kids have confidence in him now. He’s been a total surprise, I had no idea. He’s been playing JV. He’s been playing ODP for the last couple of years so he’s been getting the training and he’s been absolutely awesome for us. And with Harry [Lancaster] and Tyler [Treichler], they play solid, Harry’s been our MVP for the season.”
The Warriors continued its pressure and it resulted in another good bid. Barreira played Spinney wide but his shot just rolled wide at the far post in the 67th minute.
“I think that’s the difference from where we were at the beginning of the year to now is the pressure in the center of the park,” Franchino said. “We’re not letting teams play. It’s just getting the right mixture of the right players. Even our outside backs stepped up and our backline was pushing players on. We’re not just winning balls in the defensive third, we’re winning them in the attacking third and middle third which makes a huge difference. We just have to keep grinding.”
Attleboro had its best chance in the 70th minute when Joseph sprang Will Halbem in behind the defense but before he could uncork a shot in the area, Foxboro’s Shawn McNamara slid in and pushed the ball out for a corner kick.
Foxboro boys soccer (2-7-3, 1-7-3), which has earned at least a point in four of its last five games, will look to continue that trend when they travel to Sharon on Monday. Attleboro (5-3-4, 5-2-4) travels to Wrentham to take on Kelley-Rex leading King Philip the same day.