BROCKWAY — Despite a furious push in the second half, Brockway was unable to overcome a 6th minute goal by visiting Port Allegany as it fell 1-0 at Frank Varischetti Field Thursday.
The loss puts an end to a tough week for the Rovers that also included a 3-2 loss at home to DuBois Monday and a 8-0 shutout on the road at the hands of Punxsutawney Wednesday night.
“We’ve had a tough schedule here the last week and a half, two weeks,” Brockway head coach Andy Daugherty said. “It’s hard when most of them are young, so it’s going to be hard to keep their morale up, but we’re working on it.”
After a uncharacteristic sluggish first half, Brockway (9-5) came out strong in the second half and kept the pressure on in the Gators’ end of the field for most of the final 40 minutes.
The home side finished with a 23-9 edge in shots, but that was not enough to tie things up and force overtime, as Port Allegany goalkeeper Ty Guilds turned away all of the Rovers’ best goal scoring opportunities.
“Their keeper (Guilds) had one whale of a game, he made some really nice saves on some shots that typically would probably go in,” Daugherty said.
While it was the Gators who found the back of the net first, Brockway came just inches from getting on the board first.
Jared Marchiori sent a shot towards goal just over four minutes into the game, one of just a few all night that Guilds was unable to make a play on.
The sophomores well-struck shot sailed just high, bouncing back into play off the cross bar, as Noah Bash tracked down the deflection and looked to put a header on gaol with the keeper out of position, but sent it just wide as the game remained knotted at zero.
Port Allegany (11-3) had its first prime scoring opportunity just a minute and 16 seconds later, as the visitors were able to convert to take the early lead.
Simon Burleson made a run up the middle and sent a through ball into the box to Howie Stuckey, as Brockway keeper Lewis Painter charged off his line to challenge the striker.
The Gators’ senior captain was able to send a low shot to the left of Painter and into the back of the net towards the right post to give his team a 1-0 lead 5:39 into the game.
Painter kept the home side in the game 10 minutes later, as he made a diving save on a shot from Burleson, who had made a long run into the box and fired a shot to the junior keeper’s left.
With just over 13 minutes to play in the second half, Brockway had its second-best scoring opportunity of the opening half.
Marcus Bennett, who facilitated most of the Rovers’ offense throughout the game, made a run down the far side and worked his way around a Port Allegany defender along the end line inside the box.
Bennett then sent a low cross into a crowd of players as a pair of Brockway attackers were there along with two Gator defenders.
Jared Marchiori was able to get to the ball first and snuck a shot out of the group from near the top of the 6-yard box, but Guilds came off his line and was able to get just enough of the ball to deny the scoring chance.
Early in the second half the two sides traded scoring opportunities, as the Rovers had the first shot on goal 54 seconds after the break.
Port Allegany had a chance to double its lead in the 46th minute as Stuckey looked to record his second of the night on a long run into the box.
Painter came out to the middle of the box to pressure the shot on the one-on-one opportunity, as the Rover netminder was able to get a hand on the shot as it sailed over the bar.
Two minutes later Brockway looked to tie things up with its first of many scoring chances in the second 40, as Bennett sent a long ball from close to midfield into the box.
Garret Park chased down the ball and sent a tough-angle shot on goal, but the senior’s shot drifted just wide at the near post and into the side netting.
Marchiori was denied by Guilds for the second time of the game in the 51st minute, as he sent a shot towards the left upper 90, but Guilds was able to make a leaping save to preserve the lead.
Just over a minute later, Bennett made a run down the near side and sent a cross into the box, as a pair of Brockway attackers came just inches away from redirecting the ball on goal.
The home side continued to keep the pressure on in the 56th minute, as they earned a free kick from about 30 yards out that was taken by Eric Young.
Young sent the ball into the center of the box as Guilds came off out, but was unable to get to the ball before Marchiori was able to deflect the ball towards goal.
With the keeper out, the shot rolled just wide of the left post as it remained a one-goal game.
Guilds made yet another highlight-reel save with a little over eight minutes left to play, as he dove to turn away a shot by Nolan Swanson off of a Bennett cross.
The Gator goalie was unable to corral the rebound though, as it sat untouched for a few seconds inside the 6-yard box as Bash rushed in and attempted to slide to get a foot on the ball, but a Port Allegany defender was able to clear the danger just in time.
Bash looked to create another scoring chance in the final minute, as he tracked down a deflected ball towards the edge of the box, but was taken down on the play.
No call was made, as the visitors cleared the ball as time ran out and Port Allegany secured the shutout victory.
The Rovers return to the pitch Tuesday at home against Clarion-Limestone at 5 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season Thursday on the road against Elk County Catholic at 7 p.m.