LOWER GWYNEDD >> Scoring wasn’t Eddie Fortescue’s initial thought when he crossed a ball towards the goal after running down the right sideline.
“I was just trying to make something happen,” the Wissahickon junior said. “I just wanted to win out there. Just crossing, but luckily enough it went in.”
Fortescue’s effort sailed towards the back post and after Methacton goalkeeper Mason LeSage could only get a touch on it with his left hand, the ball tapped off the inside of the post and in at 14:34 in the first half for the opening tally of Tuesday night’s District 1-4A boys soccer first round contest.
“We had momentum and we got the goal — it wasn’t our best chance, but it went in,” Wissahickon senior Jacob Cohen said. “One went in, it was momentum with it.”
Liam Weiss doubled the Trojans’ lead less than two minutes after halftime while Cohen added another goal in the final two minutes as 11th-seeded Wissahickon advanced to the second round for a second straight season with a 3-0 victory over the visiting No. 22 Warriors.
“I thought we just played really strong as a team,” Cohen said. “Something we’ve been working is just competing, winning first balls and then winning second balls and I thought we did a great job of that tonight. And I think that was the biggest contributor to the win. So, we’re excited, but we want to go further.”
Fortescue assisted on Cohen’s capper with his throw-in as the Trojans (13-4-2) visit No. 6 Spring-Ford 7 p.m. Thursday as Wissahickon looks to reach the district quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.
“We’re going to try to play the same way we did today, just competing for every ball, playing like it’s our last game cause it very well could be our last game,” Cohen said. “We really want the season to continue, so we’re just going to play our butts off.”
Methacton (9-8-2) ended its season with three straight losses, but Tuesday’s district appearance was the first for the Warriors since 2014 when it upset Strath Haven in the first round.
“That’s the thing, it’s good to be here and I was just telling the underclassmen to remember this night and see if we can improve on it for next year,” Methacton first-year coach Dave Stevenson said. “So, that’s what we’re hoping to do.”
Wissahickon’s attack pushed forward from the opening moments and did not have the lead earlier than Fortescue’s goal only due to the goal frame. The Trojans hit both posts after corners then hit the right post again on a header off a throw-in.
“Our strategy definitely was the past couple of games we knew we needed to switch something up, we just worked on pressing every single practice — pressing, pressing, pressing. And it’s beginning to work out,” Fortescue said. “Once we press bad passes, turnovers, take advantage of it.”
The pressure was finally rewarded in the 26th minute when Fortescue’s cross carried inside the opposite post.
“We just know it’s going to come, pretty much. We just got to keep doing it and doing it and it’ll come,” Fortescue said.
Wissahickon made it 2-0 in the second minute after intermission, earning a corner after sending a free kick from midfield into the 18-yard box. The corner was headed twice before going off a Warrior and into a crowd in the box, where Weiss got his right foot on it — his shot getting past a diving LeSage at 38:06.
“The second goal in any game is so important,” Cohen said. “That along with Liam’s passion on the field, it spreads among the team. And when he scores, he’s even more excited and it just got everyone excited, more motivated.”
Methacton’s best scoring chances came as the Warriors tried to cut their deficit in half. After playing a free kick short, Trevor Rambo let loose a low shot that hit the left post. Shortly after, Chris Meehan got off a header that went wide to the right.
“I don’t know if we had a case of playoff jitters. We were just not doing things we usually can do pretty well,” Stevenson said. “And when you can’t control the ball and make those passes connect you’re on your heels.”
Cohen said Wissahickon had some familiarity with Methacton’s attacking players and their strategy resulted in holding Warriors without a goal for just the third time this season.
“A bunch of our guys know a bunch of their guys and we know their strikers. One of their strikers, Vince DeLisi, he plays on my team (FC Montco) and he’s a big guy, he’s really fast, really strong,” Cohen said. “And we knew that we couldn’t give him space to get into the box cause he’s just an incredible athlete. So, we tried to play tight to him and their other really talented strikers.”
Methacton went down to 10 players with 4:55 remaining when TJ Parker picked up his second yellow and Wissahickon cemented its victory at 1:18 as Fortesecue connected with Cohen on a throw-in and Cohen’s shot tapped off the right post and in.
“I saw him wide open,” Fortescue said. “I just tossed it right across.”