FARMINGDALE – Anyone expecting the Hall-Dale boys’ soccer team to get blown out by an experienced North Yarmouth Academy squad got a surprise Saturday afternoon. Then again, the Bulldogs have surprised skeptics all season long.

Not only did they stay with the Panthers, they missed a chance by inches to tie the game in the second half. In the end, though, NYA held on for a 2-1 victory in a Western Class C semifinal.

Eighth-seeded NYA (9-5-1) advances to play rival Waynflete in the regional final Wednesday. The Panthers’ ranking is deceiving because they play in the tough Western Maine Conference and their schedule includes some of the top teams in Class A and Class B. They opened the Class C tournament by knocking off top-seeded Wiscasset in overtime.

“We (faced) it three years ago against Sacopee,” Hall-Dale Coach Steve Acedo said of the playing a dangerous lower seed. “They were seeded No. 12 and they were the same type of team. (NYA) has a very good program.”

The Panthers scored twice in the first half, the opening goal coming when leading scorer Matthew Michaud blew past a defender and went one-on-one with Hall-Dale keeper Zach McNaughton, beating the sophomore with a shot to the upper left corner.

“He’s got 16 or 17 goals,” NYA Coach Martyn Keen said. “He’s fast and strong.”

The Panthers made it 2-0 with less than five minutes left in the half when Forrest Milburn headed in a cross from Matt Kibler.

The Bulldogs kept working and scored with 1:17 left in the half after a free kick by sophomore Colin Lush, who served a ball to Kevin Zembroski’s foot in the goal mouth.

“It was a perfect cross by Colin Lush and I got it right through the goalie’s legs,” Zembroski said.

“That was really important. It got us motivated and we played harder.”

The Bulldogs thought they tied the game on a header from Austin Bechard 18 minutes into the second half. With NYA keeper Jordan Haskell (three saves) out of his net, Bechard had an open look at the goal.

“I headed it and it was on the line if not over the line,” Bechard said.

“It bounced on the line, some guy (NYA’s Alan Brown) came and kicked it, and that was the end of it.”