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Council Rock South boys soccer battles CR North to a draw (PHOTO GALLERY)

Council Rock South senior Dan Maggio (22), left and sophomore Sean Armstrong (5) battle for the ball with CR North senior Jon Pugh in annual battle for the Unity Cup Oct. 4 at Walt Snyder Stadium in Newtown.
(Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

NEWTOWN – Unlike its sister school Council Rock North, CR South is not coming off a state-qualifying season. Neither did the Golden Hawks make it to districts last year.

Nevertheless, CR South (6-6-1, 4-3-1 SOL) gave the Indians all that they could handle Wednesday night, Oct. 4 at Walt Snyder Stadium. The Hawks got a penalty kick goal from senior Dan Maggio in the 25th minute and the Indians countered with a strike of their own on a PK by senior Jon Pugh in the 36th minute.

Neither side scored in the final 60 minutes of the contest so CR South became the first team North has failed to beat on its league schedule. In Unity Cup play, the Indians remain undefeated over the past five seasons so CR North holds onto the trophy for another year.


“This North-South game has never been a particularly pretty game of soccer, as far as the football goes,” said Golden Hawks head coach Allan Nicholl.

“Hard knocks, a lot of attitude out there, which is good to see. A lot of passion – you expect that for a (rivalry) game like this.

“I’m not sure either team deserved (the win), truthfully. There were some chances on both sides of the ball but nothing really clear-cut that could have decided the game.

“(The tie) is probably a fair result at the end of the day.”

Coming off an inspiring 2-1 victory over Suburban One National League rival Abington the night before at Stephen A. Schwarzman Stadium, the Hawks came out on fire in this one.

“We were so pumped up for this game. We all thought that the momentum was going to carry over into this game,” added CR South senior Conor Nelms. “I thought it did but North is a pretty good side. They have a couple of very talented players.

“We both played as hard as we could.

“The atmosphere for a North-South game is always intense. I thought both sides played out of their minds.”

The Indians (7-4-1, 7-0-1 SOL) generated the first two scoring chances with CR North senior Ryan Pave going in all alone on South goalkeeper Drew Bresnan. Pave blasted the ball directly into Bresnan’s midsection, however, so the netminder had no choice but to make the save.

Bresnan was also equal to the task on a free kick by Indians midfielder Jon Pugh a few minutes later.

Soon after, the Hawks began to pressure North’s net and that generated the first penalty kick for either side. Maggio made good on the shot, putting South up 1-0 in the 25th minute.

Eleven minutes later, Pugh returned the favor for the Indians after North tilted the field back the other way during the closing moments of the first half.

“They did come on at the end of the first half and beat us,” admitted Nelms. “We talked about it at halftime.

“That made us come out even stronger in the second half. I thought we played a hard-fought game. It’s sad that it ended in a tie but we gave it everything we had.”

Nine minutes into the second half, however, it was CR North senior Dylan Akay who thought he had the go-ahead goal when he chipped a ball along the right side that looped at an upward angle toward the left side of the crossbar. The ball came down in front of Bresnan, however, and he promptly swallowed it up, keeping the sides even at 1-1.

South senior Conor Sweeney generated chance after scoring chance in the second half, only to come away empty. The first came midway through the period when his free kick that crossed left to right in front of the goal mouth was tipped away by Indians netminder Eddie Mancinelli.

With seven minutes remaining in regulation, Sweeney shot just wide to the left on a shot from point-blank range. While the Hawks’ midfield almost sprung Sweeney loose on a breakaway with 4:30 left, Mancinelli arrived first to eliminate the opportunity.

In the closing moments of regulation, a throw-in by Maggio from the right side was tipped away from the Indians’ net on a header by North junior Zach Saifer.

“We knew coming into it that we were pretty evenly matched,” said Nicholl. “It was a tightly-contested game and neither team was willing to give up a whole lot.”

The night before at Abington, the Hawks trailed the Ghosts, 1-0 at the half. Nelms came through with a pair of goals in the second half, however, the winning tally coming with two minutes left in regulation, to give South its sixth win of the season and fourth in conference play.

The Hawks lost 6-1 the first time they took on Abington in September.

“They thought it was going to be an easy win for their senior night but we stuck it to them,” said Nelms. “We played well, everybody played hard, everybody fought and we came out on top.”

The Hawks started their season off with an impressive win over Central League rival Harriton then lost four of their next five including defeats suffered at the hands of Hatboro-Horsham, CR North and North Penn.

South entered the North matchup having won four of its previous five pairings, however, including league wins over Pennsbury and Neshaminy. Unbeaten in the SOL National, the Indians were coming off a resounding 7-0 triumph over Truman.

Next, CR South hosts Truman 6 p.m. Thursday night at CR North while the Indians host Bensalem on Friday at 3:30.

Council Rock South 1, Council Rock North 0

(Oct. 4 at CR North)

CR SOUTH (6-6-1, 4-3-1: SONL) 1 0 0 0 – 1

CR NORTH (8-4-1, 7-0-1: SONL) 1 0 0 0 – 1

GOAL: CR South — Dan Maggio, PK, 25th minute; CR North — Jon Pugh, PK, 36th minute.

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