By Jean DePlacido
---- — PEABODY — The good news for Peabody is the 1-1 tie with Danvers put them in the post season tournament. The bad news is the Tanners had plenty of chances to score the winning goal, but couldn’t get anything past the Falcons sophomore goalie Cam Bornstein in the second half.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Tanner coach Stan McKeen, his team now 7-0-4 with three ties in the last four games. “We had too many quality chances that we couldn’t finish. I would have liked to win this game, but will settle for the tie.”
Visiting coach Mike Chase was pleased to come away with his team’s fifth tie of the season. The Falcons are now 6-1-5.
“I’m happy with the way we played against a very good team,” said Chase. “The last couple of weeks we have struggled early, but this was the best first half of soccer we have played all year. We got off the bus ready to go against a quality team.”
The Falcons had the edge in the early going, but Peabody goalie Robert Smith made some big saves to keep them off the board. His best was a diving stop on a low blast by Jackson McPherson, who redirected a free kick by Ciao Silva midway through the half.
Peabody scored on a corner kick by Connor Wolff that Vinicius Dos Santos drilled into the left corner of the net with 14 minutes left in the half. The Tanners made several nice runs, but the Falcons’ defense and Bornstein denied them.
Danvers turned up the pressure, and with just over two minutes gone in the second half tied it up when Silva scored on a high shot into the left corner that Smith had no chance on off a corner kick by Nikolay Sakhin.
“We have not been clearing the ball out from the front of the net on corners the last couple of games,” said McKeen. “That’s what happened on their goal. We miss Christian Morales (knee injury) back there. C. J. Alimonti has been doing a great job filling in; I can’t say enough about him. C.J. plays defense, midfield, and forward for us.
“The thing is having C.J. back there means we lost his speed up front. Ben Britton also had a great game on defense. He’s been a midfielder for three years, but we moved him back. Danvers is a physical team, and they were able to break up some of our opportunities. We used both sides of the field better in the second half, and that’s something I like to see.”
Dos Santos had the best scoring chance of the second half with Bornstein down and out of position, but his shot was just wide of the right corner with 25 minutes remaining. Ben Manoogian made several runs, and Wolff’s shot just missed the far corner of the net with 14 minutes remaining. Bornstein’s best save came with eight minutes left on a laser blast by Manoogian. The goalie dove to his right to smother the ball. Another bid by Manoogian was broken up by Danvers defender Kyle Cahill in the final minutes.
“Our goalie played very well, and Cahill was tremendous in the back,” said Chase. “That was a great goal by Silva, too. Overall, this was a good night.”
Alimonti and his teammates left the field disappointed, knowing they failed to take advantage of their opportunities to pull out a win.
“We are excited to qualify for the tournament, but we had our chances to win this game and didn’t execute,” said Alimonti, one of Peabody’s three captains along with Britton and Connor Bombaci. “I played defense my freshman and sophomore years so it’s not a new position for me, but I hope Christian gets back soon. I don’t want to be back there; I want to move up front to help our offense.”