Head coach Steve Scanlon’s Wilmington boys soccer team found a bit of offense and climbed within two points of a postseason berth during a 2-0 victory over Stoneham on Thursday afternoon. But Scanlon wasn’t in much of a celebrating mood after the game.
“It was nice to get a couple of goals, but honestly I thought it as terrible soccer,” said Scanlon. “I thought both teams played poorly. It was the result we were after, but we really didn’t play very well.”
The victory improved Scanlon’s charges to 6-1-4 on the year, with a long list of defensive shutouts included in their record.
Defense, however, has not been the problem for the Wildcats. Throughout the campaign its been a struggle offensively, and that was again the case in the first case against Stoneham, which has struggled to 4-7-2 on the year.
But early in the first half, Jimmy Murphy one-touched a pass off of a free kick into the net, giving Wilmington a 1-0 advantage.
That lead remained the same until five minutes to play when Drew Foley hauled in a ball in transition and fired it into the back of the net to seal the win.
“Defensively, they’re as strong of a team as I’ve ever seen Wilmington have,” said Stoneham head coach Jim Carino. “Steve is a great coach and he really knows how to get his kids to play. He may not have the greatest talent in the world, but he does a lot with what he has.”
Despite Scanlon’s displeasure with his team’s performance on Thursday, he’s optimistic with where they are at. The Wildcats recently fell to unbeated Winchester, but only by a single goal. In addition, they fell behind a talented Belmont team 1-0 before coming back for a 2-1 win.
Wilmington will be fighting for a Middlesex League title in the remaining weeks of the regular season, and Scanlon said his team’s style of play could bode well come postseason time.
“Defense goes a long way in the tournament,” said Scanlon. “If we play up to our ability, we can advance in the tournament. I think we could be a final four team. But in the tournament, in a tough game, someone is going to have to step up and score.”