By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — GLOUCESTER— The Gloucester boys soccer team has run out of room for error.
With a 4-1 loss to Marblehead Tuesday at Magnolia Woods, the Fishermen were pushed to the brink of elimination when it comes to a state tournament berth. Gloucester, a team that started the year at 3-0-2 and has gone 3-8 since, falls to 6-8-2 with the loss and will need a win in each of its final two games to qualify for the state tournament. Two wins over the next two games will be a tall task for Gloucester, as it travels to NEC Small champion Danvers tonight (6:30 p.m.), a team that beat Gloucester 2-0 earlier in the season and has just one loss in conference play this season. If the Fishermen can pull out a win tonight, they will face a win or go home game against Saugus on Saturday morning at Gordon College (9:00 a.m.).
Missed opportunities were the story of the game for Gloucester as it dominated play for the vast majority of the game. Most of the contest was played in front of the Marblehead goal thanks to Gloucester’s control of the midfield and relentless offensive pressure.
“We actually did play a pretty good game for most of the contest, but again our decision making and our huge lapses cost us,” Gloucester head coach Art Simms said. “It’s a little discouraging, the effort was there and we had our moments. Hopefully we come out (tonight) and play strong, the team knows what it needs to do and know it can be done.”
Offensively Gloucester held a 20-8 shot advantage. Of those 20 shots, however, just five of them were on net. On the other hand the Magicians put all of of their shots on goal and buried four of them.
The Gloucester offense, led by Calvin Kipruto, Cal Cosgrove, Matt Carpenter and Alex Davis, controlled possession throughout while peppering the Marblehead goal with scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity.
The Fishermen just missed on several opportunities from corner kicks, dead ball strikes, individual drives down the field and perfect crosses, they also had a player go in all alone behind the goalie, but his shot sailed over the goal.
The loss is also disappointing because the Fishermen controlled Marblehead in the team’s first meeting coming away with a 4-2 win that wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate.
“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” Simms said. “We haven’t capitalized on our chances. We outshot Marblehead 14-5 in the second half but they scored three times. They took advantage of all of our mistakes it was that simple.”
Trailing 1-0 after the break, Gloucester piled on the pressure early in the second half holding the Magicians without a shot for the first 20 minutes of the frame.
Gloucester’s relentless offensive push finally paid dividends in the 60th minute when Cosgrove buried a shot into the top left corner of the goal from just inside the penalty box off of a Kipruto pass to tie the score at 1-1.
The Fishermen controlled play for the first 60 minutes, but the final 20 belonged to the Magicians.
Marblehead showed a sense of urgency after Gloucester tied the score; the Magicians are also fighting for their tournament lives, with a record of 5-7-3 they need five points over their final three contests to qualify for the postseason.
After Cosgrove’s score the Magicians picked up the offensive pressure and took the lead on an awkward play with 10 minutes to go. A long cross sailed over goalie Patrick Kelley’s head and nearly died before hitting the post and bouncing right onto the foot of Josh Beloff, who finished the job to give the Magicians a 2-1 lead.
While Marblehead ran with the momentum, the wheels fell off the wagon for Gloucester from that point on. Just two minutes later Beloff struck again, this time on a powerful left footed strike from just outside the penalty box, a perfectly placed shot that gave Marblehead a 3-1 lead. Shortly after that the Gloucester defense lost track of Angelo Massaro, who scored from point blank range to cap the scoring at 4-1.
Alex Fersegni opened the scoring for Marblehead in the 30th minute on a header from a nifty pass off the head of Liam Healy.
With the loss Gloucester can only look to Danvers.
“We can’t afford to lose, but we are a good team when we come to play,” Sims said. “We need to minimize our mistakes and take advantage of our scoring opportunities if we want to stay alive.”