HAMBURG N.Y. – A rivalry in boys soccer came alive last night as the Williamsville East Flames battled the Hamburg Bulldogs at Howe Field.
The Flames scored early and it was enough to come away with a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs. Hamburg head coach Mike Chieffo spoke before the game and mentioned that every minute was going to be tough.
“We know it’s going to be an 80-minute game, last year we played them it was a battle the whole way through both games,” Chieffo said. “It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be physical.”
Heading into the contest Will East’s offense had been on fire, scoring 21 goals in three games. About 40 seconds into the game they clicked right away, captain and senior forward Jake Woolingham, scored his 7th goal of the season off a throw in.
“I think the most important part of soccer is the first five minutes of every half and the last five minutes of every half and we take pride in taking advantage of those opportunities,” said Tony Schiappa, the head coach of Williamsville East.
For the rest of the game it was chance after chance for both teams. There were multiples times were the game could have been tied or a likelihood of witnessing Will East extend their lead.
Hamburg captain and senior forward Dylan Miskell created opportunities to tie it up for his team but to no avail. One of them happened in the first half, Miskell’s shot was blocked by Flames sophomore defender Jay Jezioro. Schiappa said that was the play of the game as it would have been tied had he not gotten a deflection.
The Bulldogs created themselves a spark by getting corner kicks in the first half, but had a hard time connecting on one them. The Flames did a good job trying to get to the ball first and boot it out of their zone.
Second half then got started and both teams continued to make scoring chances. Wollingham had a couple of times to score his second of the game, but Hamburg’s defense gave him a hard time to provide space for an open shot.
Bulldogs senior defender Wilson Siudzinski positioned himself for a chance to tie the game with a little over 26 minutes remaining in the game. However, he leaned back a little while going through his kicking motion and the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Off a corner kick late in the game, senior midfielder Jeremiah Crofford booted it from the right side and it struck the head of senior midfielder John Fors, but it went into the hands of Hamburg’s senior goalkeeper Nicholas Holdstein.
Will East did very well on the backline; Hamburg had some struggles trying to move the ball when in their opponent’s territory. Also, good shot selections opposed a challenge due to Will East packing four, sometimes five players in the box.
“We pressed them the proper way with the proper angles, with the proper cover and support that weren’t going to give them too much space to penetrate,” Schiappa said.
With less than two minutes remaining Hamburg came down the field for one final push. It led to multiple shots, but unfortunately none finding the back of the net. Once the clock hit zero, Will East’s bench jumped out their seats and celebrated the hard-fought win with their teammates.
Chieffo loved the effort his team displayed.
“I can’t say the effort wasn’t there, besides the scoreboard I felt we were the better team. I thought we moved the ball well, I thought we controlled the majority of the game,” Chieffo said.
The Flames stay hot and move to 4-0 on the year and 3-0 in ECIC Division 2. Whereas the Bulldogs fall to 2-2-1 on the season and 1-2-1 in ECIC Division 2.
Will East will get ready this Friday night at 7:00 pm as they will face the 4-0 Williamsville South Billies. Hamburg will face the West Seneca East Trojans Friday night at 7:00 pm.