CALCUTTA - The Beavers and Cardinals battled the elements as much as each other.
In the end, the Canfield boys soccer team scored four unanswered goals in the second half to erase a two-goal deficit en route to a 6-4 win over homestanding Beaver Local on a dreary Thursday evening.
With the win, the Cardinals improve to 6-4 on the season. The loss drops the Beavers to 6-5.
Beaver Local’s Deshawn Parker moves the ball downfield against Canfield on Thursday. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
Canfield stepped up its level of play in the second half.
"I would say so," Canfield head coach Phil Simone said. "The good thing was we were down 4-2 at halftime, and the kids didn't quit. They could have easily folded. My hat is off to them. They kept playing. They did an excellent job."
The Cardinals scored a goal within the first few minutes of the second half to close within 4-3.
Canfield had the momentum, and the visitors continued to push forward in hopes of scoring the equalizing goal. The Cardinals had some good opportunities, but the the Beavers were able to hold them off as the clock ticked toward the midway point of the second half.
The momentum briefly turned to the Beavers' favor almost 18 minutes into the second half when Beaver Local scored what appeared to be a much-need insurance goal. The goal was signaled, and the clock was stopped with 22:01 left to play in the game.
Beaver Local appeared to have a two-goal advantage, but after a pair of Canfield players talked the play with the linesman on that side of the field, the referee came across the field and joined in the conversation. A minute or so later, the referee took away the goal saying the Beavers were offside on the play.
The Cardinals were awarded a free kick, the goal was taken off of the scoreboard and the clock was restarted.
"That's twice we have had them, and it is twice we have had it taken away," first-year Beaver Local head coach Mike Hilliard said. "The disallowed goal was tough. I still don't know why it was taken away. It deflated the kids, and they were never able to recover."
The Cardinals scored three goals in the final 15:19 to pull out the victory.
The first goal came with 15:19 to play to tie the score at 4. A goal on a penalty kick gave the Cardinals a 5-4 lead with 4:30 showing on the clock. Canfield wrapped the game up with a goal with just 26 seconds left to play in the physical affair.
Dylan Sebert tallied a hat trick and an assist to lead the way for the Cardinals, Mike Piersante collected a goal and two assists and Ronnie Mangie and Brady Clark each contributed a goal.
Also, Jona Ghossain netted an assist.
Andrik Massaro made five saves in goal.
DeShawn Parker recorded two goal and an assist to lead the way for the Beavers, Garrett Speelman tallied a goal and an assist and Chase Hilliard delivered a goal.
Also, Brian Jackson ended up with two assists.
Goalie Brandon Fetty finished with nine saves.
"Their style was the same," Simone said about whether or not Beaver Local did anything different under Coach Hilliard than they have in previous years under the guidance of former head coach Mick Bowdler. "Mick still works with them in the summer, so a lot of it was the same.
"They are not a very-deep team. They don't have a lot of subs. They have some nice players. They have some really good players. They are a good team, and they played well with their kids having to play the whole game. My hat is off to them."
The second half was marred by the officials handing out multiple yellow cards for various infractions. Players on both teams received cards.
Both teams are scheduled to return to the pitch Saturday. Canfield plays at Austintown Fitch, while Beaver Local will play local-rival East Liverpool at 7 p.m. at home as part of a girls and boys doubleheader.
"The kids will bounce back," Coach Hilliard said.