GORHAM—Ram Sam Burghardt turned in the deciding factor vs. visiting Cheverus on Thursday evening, Oct. 12, tallying a surprise notch late in the first half. In an otherwise well-fought battle, then, Gorham ultimately emerged victorious over the Stags – and by the nailbiter score of 1-0, no less.
“We felt like we might want to use our size a little bit,” said Rams head coach Tim King, asked about Gorham’s strategy, heading into the contest. “Get some balls into the box, and challenge for those balls. We couldn’t get a lot of corners; we didn’t do a good job with our corners tonight – which I think we typically do. We wanted to make sure their counterattack, they couldn’t break out on us, because that’s typically what they like to do, and they’re very skilled down the middle of the field.”
King highlighted a few of the Stags’ players his boys needed to key on defensively: “Luc Dionne’s very good; [Mike Nason’s] really good down the middle, No. 9; Nolan Doherty, No. 4, in the middle – right down the middle of the field, they’re very strong. And we knew that coming in…In the end, we did a pretty good job with that.”
“We needed to watch out for Dionne,” Burghardt concurred. “He’s really good with his feet. He’s good at shooting. All the way down the middle, with the formation they have, that four-three-two-one or something like that; we just needed to control the middle. Force them out wide and stuff like that.”
The action seesawed up and down the field though the first half, both teams creating a chance here or a chance there, but neither team creating any great chances. Around 16:26, Ram Kevin Mollison somehow curled a header on net – from off the right Cheverus post, weirdly – but beyond that, there were no real close calls on either side.
Burghardt’s strike came out of nowhere with less than a minute to play before the break. Looking more for an opportunity to push inside than an opportunity to put a shot on frame, Burghardt, out past the top of the penalty area, suddenly found the ball at his feet and his angle on Stags keeper Kevin Ly mostly wide open.
The downhill half featured a handful of dangerous moments at both ends of the field. Just over 13 minutes in, the Stags generated a narrow miss on a free kick, the ball pingponging around in front of the net on a series of headers until finally it flew wide right. A couple minutes later, Gorham’s Kyle King knocked a header on-net, but Ly got a mitt on it and deflected it wide left. Finally, Cheverus set up a nice corner at 14:10, but Rams keeper Trevor Gray came up with the stop. From there, the clock melted away until the game landed in Gorham’s W column.
The win bumped Gorham to 10-2-1. The Rams, who are indeed ranked fourth at present, close their regular schedule with a road bout at No. 11 Bonny Eagle (5-8) on Tuesday the 17th.
No. 6 Cheverus, meanwhile, slipped on the loss to 7-5-1. The Stags’ last game before playoffs begin also takes place on Tuesday, when they welcome Biddeford (16th at 1-12).
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Gorham’s Sam Burghardt escapes from Cheverus’s Chris St. John.
Kyle King (Gorham) battles with Luc Dionne (Cheverus).
Gorham’s Kevin Mollison shovels the ball away as Cheverus’s Tom Gordon slides in to interrupt.
Stag Mike Nason tries to control near the sideline, under pressure from Gorhamite Andrew Rent.