ROYERSFORD >> After fending off a multitude of dangerous long throw-ins throughout the night, Spring-Ford finally took advantage of one of its own when it counted.
David Alban headed in a throw-in from Tyler Wellington with 5:05 left in the first overtime to give the Rams a 1-0 win over Council Rock South in a District 1 Class 4A boys soccer second-round contest Thursday at Coach McNelly Stadium.
That sends No. 10 seed Spring-Ford (13-3-4) into a quarterfinal match Saturday at 10 a.m. at No. 2 Conestoga, a 2-0 winner over Council Rock North. The season came to an end for the No. 26 Golden Hawks (10-8-1).
Council Rock South had controlled the play through much of regulation. But the Rams came alive in the first of two possible 15-minute overtimes, earning three corner kicks, their first since the first half.
Then Wellington put a throw-in from the left sideline right out in front and Alban, facing away from the goal, nudged a high header that fell in behind the goalkeeper.
“Usually on our thrown-ins in practice, we flick it off our head,” Alban said. “That’s how it ended up. That’s all it takes at the end of the day. One chance and you can win the game.”
“Tyler Wellington is not one of our starters. He came in because of an injury,” Spring-Ford coach Mark Chambers said. “He can throw. We had to defend about 30 long throw-ins from them. It was ironic that we scored on one.”
The Rams had a couple of good scoring opportunities early in the game. But then the Hawks dominated the possession with good passing and hard work to come up with the majority of the loose balls. Council Rock South earned seven corner kicks in regulation and senior captain Andrew Lindros consistently put long throws into the box.
But Spring-Ford goalkeeper P.J. Pozniak came up with several difficult saves and the defense always managed to somehow clear the ball out.
“They did a lot of work to keep us off the scoreboard,” Golden Hawks coach Alan Nicholl said. “I thought we did enough to win the game. They played tight defense and their goalkeeper was flawless.”
Both teams had chances to score early in the overtime as the Rams quickly picked up their first of three corners in the extra session, South kicked a ball from close range that went over the crossbar and Spring-Ford’s Max Exeter put a header just wide left of the net.
“We cleaned some stuff up,” Chambers said. “I’d like to clean up a little better. But we had the desire to get to a loose ball and get it out of immediate danger.”
The Rams had also gone into overtime on Tuesday against Neshaminy and eventually won on penalty kicks.
“They played 110 minutes the other night and had to do it again,” Nicholl said. “They found that gear. All that pressure we put on them, a lesser team surely would have cracked.”
“We have a good team,” Alban said. “Everybody was willing to give up their body. And team chemistry paid off in the end.”
Pozniak had eight saves and South keeper Evan Zawodniak made four. The Golden Hawks had a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.
“We showed great energy,” Nicholl added. “We have all year. This is an incredibly hard-working team.”
Last year, Council Rock South eliminated Spring-Ford by a 3-0 score in the opening round and went on to earn a PIAA berth by finishing fourth in the district.
“This was a revenge game for us,” Alban said. “Last year, it ended the season for our seniors. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t a season-ender for us.”
The winners of Saturday’s quarterfinals will clinch spots in the PIAA 4A Tournament. The losers will have to win a playback game in order to claim one of the district’s six berths in state play.
“If we play the way we know we can play, we can compete with anybody in the district,” Chambers said. “And we get a top team on Saturday.”
Council Rock South 0 (OT)
Council Rock South 0 0 0 – 0
Spring-Ford 0 0 1 – 1
SF-David Alban (Tyler Wellington)
Saves: CRS 4 Evan Zawodniak), SF 8 (P.J. Pozniak)
Corner kicks: CRS 7, SF 5
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