BIDDEFORD — Two desperate boys soccer teams faced off at Waterhouse Field on Thursday afternoon, as Massabesic and host Biddeford were both in search of their first wins of the season. The Tigers found their stride in the second half, finding the back of the net four times in a 5-1 victory over the Mustangs in an SMAA clash.

Biddeford, which hadn’t a won a game since the 2012 season, had plenty of chances to score just its third goal of the season in the first half, but countless overanxious shots either went wide or right at Massabesic (0-7) goalie Tyler Stinson.

But the persistent Tigers (1-6) finally finished on a chance late in the opening frame, as Bailey Fontaine ”“ who had the most misses during the first half ”“ found an opening in the penalty box and slid a shot past Stinson with less than five minutes until halftime.

It didn’t take nearly as long for Biddeford to double its lead in the second half, as Jace Hevey hustled to keep a rolling ball inbounds on the end line, then found Adam Michel at the near left post for a header 6:27 in.

Fontaine scored again at the 19 minute mark, as he received a pass from Michael Cohen and snuck around Stinson and a Mustang defender for an easy tap in.

“First half was rough. But they started playing like they usually play in the second half,” said Biddeford head coach Larry Burningham. “Basically I had to tell the guys that they had to start playing using each other instead of just trying to drop it over and score on their own. Once they did that, they settled down, which is why we got more opportunities and we got more shots in the second half.”

Playing together and making passes worked wonders for the Tigers, as all four goals they scored in the second half came on assists.

George Bigeni scored on a pass from Adrian Lopes three minutes after the Mustangs scored their lone goal, then Fontaine fed Lopes for the final score.

“It’s really just getting them to play as a team and click together,” said Burningham.

Massabesic, which scored five goals in its first game of the season but hasn’t scored more than one in any game since, struggled again to find the back of the net on Thursday.

Head coach Alan Curtis said playing in the tight confines of Waterhouse, which retrofits soccer dimensions into a facility built for football, didn’t help his team out.

“It’s difficult to come to Waterhouse, because it’s a small field, it’s an intimate setting. If the players aren’t used to playing with the crowd right on top of them it’s unnerving; it doesn’t allow them to get into a rhythm and flow,” said Curtis.

The Mustangs’ chances were few and far between, but senior Dylan Blackington made his own opportunity midway through the second half, as he blasted a shot from distance into the right side of the net for Massabesic’s lone goal.

“You don’t have to have the perfect opportunity to take a chance on goal. He’s got a nose for goal,” said Curtis. “I think today he wanted it more for the team than for himself. I think that he was just trying to do something to give the team a little bit of a lift.”

That goal cut the deficit to 3-1, but Bigeni swung momentum back Biddeford’s way minutes later.

“I give credit to Biddeford for playing the way they wanted to,” said Curtis. “They got their crowd into the game very early. It was kind of an uphill struggle for us for large chunks of the game.”

The Tigers have seven games left in their season, with three of those games coming against teams currently out of a playoff spot. Burningham said more games like the one his team played on Thursday could mean contending for a postseason berth for the first time in a long time.

“The biggest thing we have to learn is to play to our ability and not to the other team’s ability. Like at Cheverus, we played very well. If we play like we did against Cheverus, and like this second half, I think that they’ll have a very good season,” said Burningham. “I think they’ll pull together four or five more wins.”

Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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