By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The pitch was not in great shape, it was cold out, the wind was blowing, and facing an opponent that it had beaten by five goals in the first meeting, Foxboro came out sluggish to start the game against Stoughton on Friday afternoon.
Down by a goal at halftime, first-year coach Joe Franchino stood outside the team huddle and senior captain Robby Lowey led the team talk, imploring the Warriors to step it up in the second half.
The talk worked. Foxboro got into gear in the final 40 minutes and its three attackers, Devante Teixeira, Anthony Barreira, and Joe Morrison, each scored goals to give the Warriors a come from behind 3-1 win that keeps them in the Davenport title race with two league games remaining.
“We’re just trying to find a solution not a problem,” said Franchino about the discussion at halftime. “You can blame the pitch, you can blame a lot of things, but it’s all about finding a solution and getting the victory. The guys pulled it together.”
Stoughton took the lead just six minutes into the game. Noah Schulze, who had only minutes earlier flashed a header narrowly wide, stayed with a loose ball that bounced off of Foxboro keeper Clay Leopold and finished.
“It was a great goal by Noah Schulze,” said Stoughton coach Aaron Salter. “He got a little bit fortunate, but it was still a very good finish to keep battling and not stop.”
The best Foxboro chance of the first half fell to Morrison, but the sophomore midfielder was unlucky to see his shot ricochet off the post after a decisive through ball by freshman Nic Biegel.
Barreira also had two shots saved by Stoughton keeper Kyle Silverman at the half hour mark but overall it was a subdued first half from the Warriors. Teixeira in particular was limited in his touches and impact on the game with left back Jeremy Fishman keeping him under wraps with help from centerback Goddy Frombe.
“I thought first half we did a great job in terms of our shape, our organization, how we wanted to play, how we approached it,” said Salter.
He added, “Nick Comeau, his job was to man-mark Joe in the midfield and he did an awesome job. He was everywhere and he was our hardest working player out there.”
After the break, things changed drastically Teixeira, who had seemed frustrated in the opening 40 minutes, suddenly looked like the player that is leading the league in points. He terrorized he left side of the Stoughton defense and eight minutes after the break he equalized.
Morrison tried to get room on the edge of the box but the ball bounced into the path of Teixeira and he managed to flick it past two defenders and hit it first time into the bottom corner.
“In the first half we had him,” said Salter. “He was getting frustrated, he was getting wound up and in the end it was our undoing because it gave him the fire in the belly to go on and smash it into the net.”
Just a minute later, Teixeira was through again but was denied by Silverman. In the 52nd minute, he go to the byline and cut it back for Hussein Kafel but the sophomore’s shot struck the post and stayed out. Teixeira also had what appeared to be a second goal, but the officials waved it off because the shot had actually gone through the netting outside the post.
In the 69th minute, he forced a mistake and rounded the keeper only to have his chance cleared off the post by Frombe.
“He’s MVP all day long,” said Franchino. “Nobody’s had an answer for him all year. He’s a talented player and he’s carried us in the KP game and he started it off here…that’s what he does.”
Stoughton had a couple of chances in the second half. A long goal kick by Silverman picked out Josh Mitchell up front and his flicked header found Fabio Ponce De Leon but his close-range chance went wide. In the 64th minute, Mitchell sent a header wide from a corner.
The missed opportunities would hurt because Foxboro would take the lead in the 70th minute. Barreira collected the ball near midfield and dribbled at the heart of the Stoughton defense. The Black Knights hesitated and allowed Barreira to line up a shot that slipped inside the post from the edge of the box.
With only five minutes remaining, Morrison wrapped up the two points for Foxboro. He kept possession in the box despite being surrounded, created a foot of space, and smashed his shot into the roof of the net giving Silverman no chance.
“It’s good to see Joe get back on the scoresheet because he does so much in the middle of the park,” said Franchino. “You’re getting double teamed being a top player and then you get unlucky at times…he’s grinding it out.”
Salter did not believe that the final score indicated how his team had played but he added, “Those players show a moment of brilliance each and you’re going to get punished. There’s not much you can do, but I’m truly proud of my boys.”
The win moves Foxboro to within a point of league leading Oliver Ames, which plays on Saturday, with two games remaining. The Warriors will face Sharon on Tuesday.
Stoughton needs three points from its remaining two games to qualify for the postseason. The Black Knights will face Canton on Tuesday night.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
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