LOWER GWYNEDD >> Abington clinched a share of the Suburban One League Liberty Division title with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Wissahickon Monday afternoon at Wissahickon High School.
The Ghosts improved to 14-2-1 overall and 13-1-1 in SOL Liberty play. They’re one game ahead of Upper Dublin with one game left in the regular season. Abington can clinch an outright league title Wednesday with a win over Quakertown or an Upper Dublin loss against Hatboro-Horsham.
“It’s pretty big for us,” Abington senior defender Drew Paxson said. “We won it a couple previous years. A lot of guys back there didn’t get to play today. We wanted to score more goals, but if it clinches the league for us then it does the job.”
Abington fell behind, 1-0, in the 35th minute and the one-goal deficit held until halftime. The two-time defending league champs tied the game in the 48th minute, took the lead in the 57th and added an insurance goal in the 79th.
The Ghosts put 10 shots on goal in the second half and earned five corner kicks.
“We realized that if we lose, we lose the league,” Abington senior captain Liam Hartman said. “We had to step up. It would’ve been a waste of a game to come out here and lose.
“It was night and day in the first and second half. Made little adjustments at halftime and we found ways to get goals and get the job done.”
Daniel Olivera tied the game just eight minute after halftime. Heading to goal from the right wing, Olivera’s right-footed shot beat the keeper to the far side to make it 1-1 with 32:09 remaining.
“As soon as (defender) Ziggy (McFarlene) went out they scored,” Wiss coach Stuart Malcolm said. “The fullback wasn’t up where he needed to be, which Ziggy organized and kept everyone organized. If he’s on the field I don’t think they score… He came out, three minutes later it’s 1-1. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Less than nine minutes later, Hartman put the Ghosts ahead. Braeden Delgado put a shot on goal that was stopped, but the rebound bounced straight up near the goal. Hartman was there to tap it in for a 2-1 lead with 23:55 to play.
Hartman assisted on the final goal, sending a cross to Bryan Oniel, who finished to make it 3-1 with 98 seconds on the clock.
Wissahickon (8-8-1, 7-8 SOL Liberty) scored the game’s first goal on a free kick. Michael Om sent a cross into the box from 40 yards away and found Robert Graefe, who headed the ball into the back of the net.
The Abington defense didn’t allow too many opportunities in the second half. Goalkeeper Kevin Kretschman stopped two shots after the break, but it was Delgado who made the biggest save of the game. On a Wissahickon corner when it was 2-1 with 10 minutes left, Delgado stopped a shot from crossing the goalline.
“We knew the only way they were scoring was some type of long throw, any type of restart or one of our mistakes,” Paxson said. “In the first half we had a miscommunication and we let our guard down. From there on out, I think we did a pretty good job keeping our heads up. We did a good job keeping them off the score sheet from then on out.
“Delgado did the right job, stepping off the back-post when the goalie comes out, steps on the goalline. He does what coach tells him to do in practice and it pays off.”
The Trojans entered the game ranked No. 23 in the District 1-4A standings. The top 28 teams qualify for playoffs. Wissahickon ends its season against Plymouth Whitemarsh Wednesday.
“A win today and we’re in the playoffs,” Malcolm said. “The boys knew that. That was just the sickening part of being in the position we were in. The longer the half went on, the more frustrated they were going to get. I said in the first 10 minutes of the second half, they’re really going to start forcing it. I said maybe we could pinch a second one because of how they’re pushing and trying to get a goal. It’s unfortunate they got a gift and took advantage of it.”
Abington 3, Upper Dublin 0
Abington 0 3 – 3
Upper Dublin 1 0 – 1
Goals: AB: Daniel Olivera, Liam Hartman, Bryan Oniel. UD: Robert Graefe.
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