PENNY HILL – Newark Charter's boys soccer team is no stranger to overtime. In the Patriots' first six games this season, they needed extra sessions four times to get the win. They went to overtime again on Thursday at Mount Pleasant, but this time they could not come away with the win, although they remain undefeated. Newark Charter and Mount Pleasant had to settle for a 1-1 tie on a sun-splashed afternoon.
The Green Knights (3-3-2) took control early in the contest on a nice shot by Ben Cahill. The junior settled the ball about 40 yards from the Newark Charter goal and sent a shot in on a gentle arc. Patriots keeper Josh Wilson had it lined up, but the ball found the space between his outstretched arms and the crossbar, and in the eighth minute it was 1-0.
“I won the ball at midfield and saw the keeper off his line a little bit. Just chipped it and found the back of the net luckily,” Cahill said.
It didn't take too long for Newark Charter to pick up the equalizer. In the 18th minute, Quinton Kramarck set up a free kick just outside the 18-yard box to the left of Green Knights keeper Ryan Northey and drilled a line drive into the near-side upper 90. Northey got his hands on the ball, but not enough to prevent the goal.
Cahill was involved in the next serious Mount Pleasant chance. He beat Wilson to a ball along the baseline and sent a crossing pass through the crease. The resulting shot went high over the net, however.
The Green Knights had more and better chances, but they could not solve Wilson a second time. Newark Charter tightened up its defense as the half progressed, and the teams went into the half tied.
Cahill had another free kick a few minutes into the second, but this time the Patriots' wall slowed his shot down, and Wilson made the save. Cahill was robbed by Wilson in the 52nd minute when his low liner was caught. He had one more chance in the 60th, but Wilson stopped another free kick.
Wilson saved the game twice more in the second half, stopping a header off a corner kick in the 62nd minute and making a diving stop four minutes later.
Newark Charter (6-0-1) played the last five minutes and both 10-minute overtime periods a man short, having lost a player to two yellow cards. Mount, however, could not take advantage. Liam Thomas had the Knights' best chance in the extra periods, dribbling along the baseline and forcing Wilson to make a diving save about halfway through the first overtime. In the second overtime, a header by Cahill from about 15 yards out landed on the top of the net.
“We were just trying to play a little bit of possession, drop the ball back and send the long ball to the strikers up front, but we were just unlucky with our finishes today,” Cahill said.
It was frustrating not to pick up that second goal, Cahill said, but he sees good things in the team's future. Beginning next season, Mount Pleasant will be moving to Division II, and he knows the team can compete at that level.
“I feel very, very good about this. Next year, this could very well be the final in Division II,” he said.
Each team was credited with five shots, and each keeper four saves. The Green Knights had four corner kicks to Newark Charter's three. Mount Pleasant (3-3-2) travels to Wilmington Charter on Monday for a 3:30 p.m. game, while the Patriots host fellow unbeaten St. Mark's (5-0-2) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.