Cameron Glennon, Jose Vera, Joey Creed and Chuckie Maldonado began playing soccer together over ten years ago, first with parks and rec, then Shore Soccer, and now with Northampton High School. That era came to an end last Wednesday as the Yellow Jackets fell to Northumberland in Regional Semi-Finals.
It was an ugly game, where Northumberland, known for thuggish play in football, carried the same style into this soccer match. However, if the referees are going to allow, good on them for the game plan.
Northumberland capitalized on another slow start by the Jackets, jumping to an early 2-0 lead in the first fifteen minutes. From here, Northampton controlled the game and tempo.
While they were able to apply good pressure, Northampton could not get enough clean shots to reach the back of the net. Between trips, leg whipping, jersey pulling, holding and two-handed pushing, the smaller Yellow Jackets had everything contested.
Despite the thuggery, Northampton still managed a few good chances–two bounced off the crossbar, and two hit the post.
“I can’t help but feel we were a little bit robbed today,” said team captain Jose Vera.
This reporter has to agree. There were at least three flagrant fouls inside the box that should have resulted in penalty kicks–two should have resulted in yellows.
Note: This reporter was ejected from the field for issuing foul oaths against the referees.
As the game wore on, the 95 degree heat began to take a toll on both squads. The game ended with a slow dribbler across the mid hash. Each team, completely spent, hugged and congratulated each other for a hard fought battle.