WHITEMARSH >> Haverford School head soccer coach Bill Brady is used to seeing it by now.
It seems each match the Fords play features an opponent that wants to clog the midfield and drop defenders in order to keep his side from lighting up the scoreboard.
Brady saw that strategy again Tuesday afternoon when Haverford slipped past Germantown Academy, 2-0, in a match that was contested primarily in the midfield.
Neither side managed much of a sustained attack as the Patriots were content to drop seven players into the defensive end in both an attempt to hinder the Fords attack and to generate offense off the stops.
It didn’t work as anticipated as the Fords got a first-half goal from Matt Mayer off a free kick and a second-half goal from Connor Gregory in transition to prevail and set the stage for their big match this Saturday at Malvern Prep.
Brady was pleased with the win, if not the way in which it was achieved.
“Mid-week games in the Inter-Ac are tough,” the coach said. “You always worry about the intensity.
“(Germantown Academy) backed up and prevented some things, but fortunately we did a good job playing defense. I thought our tempo was too slow throughout the game.”
With the pace of the game slowed nearly to a crawl, neither side could manage much attack space.
That was exactly what GA head coach Chris Fehrle wanted.
“The idea was to try and keep the match close for as long as we could,” Fehrle said. “Last year we tried to play with them in the first match, and they beat us by five goals.
“They only beat us, 1-0, in the second match and we played like we did today. Usually, when everybody is concerned about playing defensively, we can be dangerous because we’re counter-attacking. We did that for the first 20 minutes, but we weren’t able to sustain it.”
Instead, the Fords got a handful of chances, and capitalized once in the first half, when Mayer flicked a free kick just past GA goaltender Steve Combs for a 1-0 lead.
Gregory’s goal was a beauty as he took a pass in transition in the midfield, beat a GA defender and hammered a shot home to double the visitors’ lead in the contest’s final 12:00.
GA’s best chance came in the 63rd minute when Frank Koons ripped a straight-on bullet just over the crossbar.
By match’s end, the Fords had another by-the-numbers win, while GA was left to ponder what could be a bright future.
“We’re probably a few wins short of where we should be,” Fehrle said. “We gave away the Springside Chestnut Hill game and we’ve had a couple of other losses that we shouldn’t have.
“But this is a young team. We have seven sophomores that start, so it’s a learning process, and some are picking it up quicker than others.”