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Walsingham Academy was unable to generate consistent scoring chances during a chippy 3-0 loss to Steward School at home Tuesday afternoon.
The opening 10 minutes of the game consisted of both teams feeling each other out until the Spartans got on the board with 30:10 remaining in the first half.
Steward School worked the ball down the right side of the field, setting up Miguel Salgado to dribble the ball into the box and send a bending ball on net with his left foot. The ball bent into the upper-right corner of the net, just outside the reach of Walsingham goalkeeper Harrison Forrest for the game's opening goal.
After conceding the opening goal, Walsingham settled down and began controlling the ball more effectively. Midway through the first half, the Trojans found one of their best scoring opportunities of the game as Eddie Kinney crossed the ball into the middle where it was met by the fist of Steward School's goalie Josiah Armstrong.
The punch sent the ball directly to the foot of Walsingham's Konstantin Ries, who tried to get a strong shot off, but instead sent a weak redirection on the net where Armstrong was waiting for the save.
Walsingham Academy showed its resiliency with their backs against the wall with 4:30 left in the first half after the head official called an illegal backward pass from a field player to the goalkeeper. The penalty set Steward School up with an indirect free kick six yards away from the net. Forrest responded with a clutch, point-blank diving save to his right to prevent the Spartans from extending their lead.
Just when it seemed Walsingham was poised to enter halftime trailing by one goal, Steward School threw together a late attack with less than 10 seconds left in the first half. A long, floating ball was played from near the midfield line into the Walsingham box. Forrest called to his defenders he had the ball, but misplayed it in the air and allowed Steward School's Jack Caldwell to tap the ball into the empty net for a last-second goal.
"This is probably the weakest game we've played so far this year," said Walsingham Coach Richard Plank. "The effort was certainly there, but I'm not sure it was consistently there to be successful."
The late first-half goal visibly sank the spirits of the Walsingham players, who played nearly the entire second half playing a reserved, defensive style of soccer.
After nearly an entire half of playing on their heels, but still not conceding another goal, Steward School broke through with 3:16 left in the game. Salgado sent a well-placed cross into the middle of the box where Theron Powell was waiting to head in the final goal of the game past Bryce Behm, who took over at goalkeeper for Walsingham in the second half.
While admitting his team had its fair share of struggles, Plank took solace that none of his players were sent off during the physical game because of penalties or injuries.
Walsingham Academy (2-3-1) will look for a better performance at home Thursday against Richmond Christian.
Steward School 3, Walsingham Academy 0
Goals: Steward School (Miguel Salgado, Jack Caldwell, Theron Powell)
Assists: Steward School (Miguel Salgado)