UPPER DUBLIN >> Senior Max Adam didn’t start for the Upper Dublin boys soccer team Wednesday afternoon against Cheltenham.
It was his first day back from a trip and the plan was to ease him into the lineup. When he took the field around the seventh minute, there was no “ease” about it.
Adam scored in less than three minutes and finished with his first career hat trick to lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 Suburban One League American Conference win at Upper Dublin High School.
“I’ve been away for a little bit,” Adam said. “I just wanted to go out there and prove to the coach that I was ready and try to get my starting spot back. It felt good to get a (quick) goal.”
“Today was (Adam’s) first day back — he was actually on a trip,” Upper Dublin coach Andy Meehan said. “He just flew in. This was his first day back so I wanted him to settle in first and then get started. He did well.”
Adam’s first two goals gave the Cardinals (1-1, 1-0) a 2-0 lead late in the first half. The first goal was assisted by Jerry Bardol and the second one came from John Visher after he received a nice pass from Bardol.
“(The second) was a great team goal,” Adam said. “We played it up the left side with a lot of one-touch passing — really good stuff. John Visher played me in with a good ball and I was right in front of the goal and put it in.”
“Max is very fast,” Meehan said. “He’s a hard worker up top. He’ll always give you 100%, which is all any coach can ask for.”
He completed the hat trick midway through the second half. After he was taken down in the box, he buried his penalty shot to the right side to make it 4-1 Cardinals.
The win is Meehan’s first as head coach at Upper Dublin and it came against his alma mater, Cheltenham, where he graduated from in 2003.
“It’s a good feeling to get that first win under your belt,” Meehan said.
The Panthers (0-2, 0-1) were in the game for a while.
In the final minute of the first half, Findley Peet scored after Max Brown’s corner kick bounced around in front of the goal to cut Cheltenham’s deficit in half, 2-1.
The Panthers had another opportunity in the final minute of the first half and couldn’t capitalize, but took momentum into the intermission.
That quickly changed.
A pass from a defender to the goalie in the first five minutes after the break bounced into the back of the net for an own-goal and Cheltenham looked flat the rest of the way.
“We had the momentum going,” Cheltenham coach Bill Tonkin said, “then that happened and it deflated us a little bit. We battled. That’s the thing now — we’re battling.”
Prior to the game-changing mistake, the Panthers had some chances to score and just couldn’t find a way to score.
“We had possession,” Tonkin said. “We’re not shooting the ball well. We’re not taking shots. Our first touches are very horrible right now, so we’ll have to work on those. We’ll get there.
“(Overall) we played very well, moved the ball. We just have to be quicker, take more shots. We’ll get there.”
Upper Dublin 4, Cheltenham 1
Cheltenham 1 0 — 1
Upper Dublin 2 2 — 4
Goals: C: Findley Peet. UD: Max Adam 3.
Assists: UD: Jerry Bardol, John Visher
Saves: C: Justin Grady 6. UD: Alex Goldenberg 6.