When a team decides it will be a possession team, it must be able to string together passes, then be able to finish around the penalty area.
Wilson Fike kept Northern Nash from doing either, and the Golden Demons were just good enough on the attack, earning a 3-0 victory Wednesday at Northern Nash High School.
“We were outplayed in all three areas of the field,” Northern Nash left back Hunter Davis said. “In their attacking third, the middle third, our attacking third – they did a better job than we did.”
After a sloppy first 15 minutes in which both sides knocked around the ball in the middle, the Demons (8-4-1, 3-1 Big East Conference) broke through on a searching ball in the 16th minute. Franklin Dominguez won a 50-50 ball and broke down the left flank, then his low cross skipped all the way across the box to Carson Davis, who sent it past an exposed Ben Roy in goal.
Later in the half, Roy was again hung out to dry when a failed clearance fell to the feet of Davis, who had an easy path to a second goal.
“We need to be more physical without a doubt,” Northern Nash coach Joe McCarthy said. “We were a step slower in a lot of areas (Wednesday).”
The Knights (4-4-2, 1-2-1) never truly threatened the Demons’ lead.
Northern Nash is a possession team, but for the better part of the night, it couldn’t keep hold of the ball, much less carve out enough time for its wingers to go forward.
Several attacks that the Knights were able to build were quickly dispelled by Fike center back Drayton Williams, who was a force around the Demons’ 18-yard box.
“He’s such a huge help back there,” Fike coach Toni Varacchi said. “We call him ‘Shrek.’ He’s vocal, he’s big, he’s strong – he’s done well for us since coming back from being hurt.”
Northern Nash showed flashes of attacking in the second half, but the final touch wasn’t there.
A good run found no support. A well-played ball couldn’t find the heads in the area. The strike after a build up wasn’t right.
“That has been our thing lately,” Davis said. “We’ve struggled a lot with finishing in our last couple games. We practice it all the time and we can do it in practice, but then we get to the games and we can’t seem to finish.
“We scored seven against (Wilson) Beddingfield, so we know we can score. We just have to get it back.”
And there weren’t enough chances for Northern Nash, which figured to create more of them than it did.
“We’ve not been able to possess the ball at all lately,” McCarthy said. “There were a lot of things we should have done better.”
Roy was one of the few bright spots for Northern Nash. He was quick off his line all game, and his proactive keeping prevented break-aways on three separate occasions.
“Our keeper was excellent all night,” McCarthy said. “He was hung out to dry all night, but he still did a nice job. He prevented it from being even worse.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz@ rmtelegram.com