VANDALIA — Northmont shot itself in the foot Thursday by scoring an own goal with 26:46 left in the first half that would eventually be a factor in enabling the Vandalia-Butler Aviators to hang on for a 2-1 boys soccer victory.
Chris Mitrousis was credited with the goal but Liam Batten actually kicked the ball into his own goal amidst a scrum in front of the net. That goal would come back to haunt the Thunderbolts.
“Unfortunately these things happen when you are tracking back towards your own goal. It is what it is. You can’t do anything about it. It happens,” said Northmont Coach Bob Brown.
Mikael Waale found the back of the net with 10:38 left in the first half to put Butler up 2-0. Northmont’s lone goal of the night came on a free kick following a penalty with Brandon Morton hitting a rocket past the goalkeeper with 25:32 remaining in the game. The Thunderbolts kept the pressure on Butler the remainder of the second half but couldn’t quite generate a game tying goal.
Butler had Northmont playing defense most of the first half and took four shots on goal compared to the Thunderbolts two shots. After halftime Northmont ramped up its play and an already physical game became even more intense.
“They out worked us in the first half,” Brown added. “They are just a mentally tough, well coached team. Steve does a really, really good job. We kind of got into our guys a little bit at halftime and in the second half I thought we did a much better job of competing and doing what we needed to do and in creating a few more chances. We got back into it and made it a game.”
The own goal proved to be a gift that Butler Coach Steve Doring was thankful to get.
“I think we created a lot of chances in the first half. Fortunately for us they helped us out with one goal, but it was unfortunate for them,” Doring said. “To get that early goal was a nice change of pace for us because we haven’t been scoring too quick. We had to hang on there at the end. Northmont is always an organized team. Bob always has them playing real hard until the end and we are pleased to get out with a 2-1 victory. I think the physicality escalated in the second half. We are rivals so there is going to be some tough tackles, hard hits and I don’t think we were prepared for that at the beginning of the second half. We found our rhythm; we found our feet and were able to hold on to preserve the victory.”
With the win Butler improves to 10-1-0 overall while Northmont falls to 3-5-1.
Northmont plays at Fairfield on Saturday at 2 p.m. and then hosts Lebanon on Tuesday, Troy on Thursday and Canal Winchester on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. Butler plays at Tecumseh on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. and hosts Troy on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind