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Wissahickon rallies in 2nd half to edge Cheltenham

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LOWER GWYNEDD >> Stuart Malcolm is looking for some consistency from the Wissahickon boys soccer team heading into its final games of the regular season.

“We got to start putting good performances together and not just one good one and then coming out and being scrappy,” the Trojans head coach said.

Tuesday night, Wissahickon had to just settle for finding a way to pull out a win over visiting Cheltenham after being a goal down at halftime

Eddie Fortescue netted the equalizer in the ninth minute after the break while Christian Vorchheimer collected the go-ahead goal off a scramble in front of the next with less than seven minutes to go as the Trojans rallied for a 3-2 Suburban One League American Conference victory.

“It’s a great feeling. I don’t know what to say, team just put together a great game,” Vorchheimer said. “We just had to force the ball over the line and that’s we did. And we’ll take the win.”

Neither second-half goal was glamorous but they got the job done for Wissahickon (8-4-2, 7-2-2 conference), which avoided its second two-game losing streak of the season.

“I was disappointed with the fact that we gave them the impetus after a few minutes when they put one away and they felt they were in the game,” Malcolm said. “So we talked at halftime about what are the things that were successful last night (in a 1-0 loss to Roman Catholic). And that’s what we tried to kind of emphasize in the second half.”

Fortescue pounced on a rebound to make it 2-2 with 31:32 left in regulation. Vorchheimer’s goal came after a throw-in into the 18-yard box. Jovani Gonzalez got a touch on the ball to push it out of the grasp of Cheltenham goalkeeper Justin Grady and toward the right post. Vorchheimer came in and knocked a ball into the net for a 3-2 lead at 6:34.

“Just a lucky, scrappy, ugly goal but we’ll take it and keep moving forward,” Vorchheimer said.

Cheltenham had its best chance to level the contest in the final seconds, drawing a free kick near the top of the Wissahickon box after a corner kick, but the restart was sent well high of the goal.

“They worked harder than we did. We worked hard the first half, we worked hard the second half but just didn’t raise our level up to match them,” Cheltenham coach Bill Tonkin said. “And they stole the game away. They deserve it. Can’t  say any more than that.”

Findlay Peet and Ben Kaplan each had a goal for the Panthers (6-8-1, 5-5-1), who missed helping their chances of making the District 1 playoffs for the first time since 2010 with a third consecutive defeat. Cheltenham, sitting 29th in the 1-4A rankings with 24 teams making the postseason tournament, visits Hatboro-Horsham 7 p.m. Thursday.

“We’re not playing bad, that’s the problem. We’re playing good soccer. We just can’t finish games,” Tonkin said. “We’re getting snake-bit a little bit. I mean, we were in a good spot a couple weeks ago, now we’re fighting. So hopefully these last three games we can put something together and see what happens.”

Wissahickon, which is 14th in the 4A rankings, kept its SOL American title hopes alive with Tuesday’s win. The Trojans visit first-place Abington 3:30 p.m. Thursday with a Ghost tie or win giving them the outright conference crown. Wiss gave Abington its lone loss of the season 6-0 Sept. 17.

“I’m not as comfortable as I would like to be in terms or where we are and what we’re doing and where people are going and everything else,” Malcolm said. “I think we got the majority of that settled on the field but there’s 11 spots and I’m still moving people around and giving people opportunities.

“We brought two players up from JV to try and see if we can get some other scoring going cause we’re a little bit too two-dimensional at the moment and it’s an odd goal here and there from players.”

Peet put Cheltenham a 1-0 lead at 21:24 in the first half, getting played forward by Max Brown then slotting a shot past Trojans goalkeeper Jun Yuh.

Wissahickon made it 1-1 at 11:02 as Trey Schwartz headed a Vorchheimer’s corner kick over Grady and into the top of the net.

“It was just trying to put the ball in the middle, let the tall guys get a head on it and just put it where it needs to be,” Vorchheimer said.

Cheltenham, however, regained the advantage with 4:42 remaining before halftime. On a Matthew Montes free kick sent into the box, Yuh and a Panther went up for the ball, Yuh could not snag it and Kaplan was there to send into the goal.

Fortescue tied it 2-2 in the second half by putting in a rebound after Gonzalez was denied by Grady. A few minutes later, Fortescue came close to giving the Trojans the lead, getting free in the box but his shot was saved by Grady. The ball bounced to an open David Goldstein, who sent a shot off the left post.

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