CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township High School boys soccer team ran out of time.
The Panthers, trailing Millville for much of Wednesday’s season opener for both teams, put immense pressure on the Thunderbolts over the final 15 minutes but could never get an equalizer in what turned out to be a 2-1 defeat.
The contest was Matt Gilbert’s first as head coach for Middle.
“We threw everything at them in the second half,” Gilbert said.
Middle displayed a mighty competitive spirit and drive against their Group IV opponent but ultimately couldn’t do enough creatively in the final third as Millville hung on for victory.
Middle was behind by a goal at the interval through a goal by Millville’s Jeffery Dash with 10 minutes to go in the opening half.
Middle goalkeeper Sean Geary covered up a Millville penalty kick early in the second half to momentarily keep his team a goal short, but the ‘Bolts later went up by two goals on Jack Beck’s strike.
But Middle never wavered. Matt Brown got the Panthers within a goal when he finished the rebound of his saved penalty kick less than five minutes after Millville’s second goal.
From there, Middle moved the ball numerous times to the edge of the area and put some dangerous crosses, corner kicks and long throw-ins into the box but couldn’t find the net.
— Brian Cunniff