The Farmington High boys soccer team leveraged to the fullest its superior height and strength up front in a 5-2 victory over Conard-West Hartford at Tunxis Mead on Friday evening.
Indeed, a match that was billed as a battle between the two CCC-West frontrunners never really materialized, as the Indians jumped on the Chieftains with three first-half goals all scored on headers.
Colin Cheesman opened Farmington’s account in the 14th minute, nodding a long ball into the center of the box over Conard goalkeeper Neil Droney for a 1-0 lead.
Sabri Akter doubled Farmington’s lead nine minutes later on a similar play - a long ball into the box, this time from Jon Mezzanotte.
Akter finished the scoring before the interval with a gorgeous finish with his head in mid-stride off a cross by Derek Fern.
Conard never recovered from the onslaught, and Farmington (5-0, 4-0 CCC West) took sole possession of first place in the conference.
“They’re a very talented team,” Conard head coach Adam Linker said. “What was evident today is he has studs in every position and every one of them is big and athletic. Their size gave us a lot of trouble.”
Still, the Chieftains got a goal back in the 55th minute, when Ryan May slotted home a penalty after a Farmington player handled the ball in the box. The goal appeared to breathe some life into the match.
But any momentum that swung Conard’s way was lost less than a minute later when Farmington’s Matt Sroka fired the ball into the net from distance to give the Indians a 4-1 lead.
Jared Edelson added one more for Farmington in the 64th minute on a gorgeous finish to put the Indians up 5-1.
Conard’s Eamonn D’Arcy completed the scoring by cooly burying a penalty to make it 5-2 in the 66th minute.
Farmington High head coach Steve Waters was pleased with the way his team performed, particularly in its finishing.
“We try to mix the game a little bit,” Water said. “In high school, it works when you mix a little bit of short and long. … We have players who can finish. Five goals is the most we’ve had.”
Linker, on the other hand, was disappointed with his charges’ chippy play toward the end of the match.
“I was not pleased how they lost their heads and started to lose their cool,” Linker said. “I don’t care whether we win or lose, I expect them to play 100 percent. … What’s most important is for them to come out and remember who they are playing for. They represent our town, our superintendent, our principal, our AD, themselves, myself, and everybody in the stands from Conard and their parents.”
In fairness, Conard was without its best player - and one of the best players in the state - in Matheus Souza, a preternaturally skilled forward who sat out the match due to a suspension.
But Friday’s result served as a reminder that, even at full strength, Conard is the equivalent of the CCC West’s nouveau riche, and Farmington, with 10 state titles - including the 2012 state Class L championship - to its credit, is still the team to beat.Conard faces Newington on the road on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m., while Farmington High next takes on New Britain, also on the road, on Tuesday at 5 p.m.