FREEPORT — The Yarmouth High boys’ soccer team failed to finish some great scoring opportunities Tuesday evening, but the Clippers did manage to put the ball in the net once in their showdown at Freeport.

And that, combined with Yarmouth’s smothering defense, was just enough to produce a key early-season win at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field. Liam Ireland’s first half goal stood up and the Clippers edged the defending Class B South champion Falcons, 1-0.

“I thought we had three good chances in the first half and at least three in the second half and if we buried a few of those, it would have been a comfortable game, but it’s never comfortable against Freeport,” said Yarmouth Coach Mike Hagerty.

The Clippers (5-0) nearly went on top early in the game, but Will Nicholas sent a one-timer over the crossbar. Then John Clinton had a bid saved by Falcons goalkeeper Gabe Wagner.

Freeport back Aidan Gallagher then cleared an apparent Ireland goal off the line, but the Falcons couldn’t keep Yarmouth off the board on Ireland’s next chance.

With 7:54 left in the half, Ireland pounced on a turnover and raced in on Wagner. Wagner tried to cut off the angle, but Ireland managed to fire the ball past him for a 1-0 lead.

“I saw an opportunity and I drove in,” Ireland said. “The goalie saw I had a crossing opportunity and I had crossed it a couple plays earlier. I faked (the pass) and tucked it front post. I don’t think he was expecting it.”

“That was a great goal,” Hagerty said. “If anything, we want (Liam) to be more selfish. He distributes and plays so well. I’m so impressed with what he does offensively and defensively.”

Freeport’s best chance came with 3:01 left in the half, when Owen Howarth got his head on the ball in the box, but Yarmouth goalkeeper Isaac Owen made the save.

The Clippers missed some good looks in the second half, but they didn’t allow the Falcons to get a clean shot. Freeport, which played the game without the injured Jesse Bennell and then lost Will Winter to an injury early in the second half, couldn’t score on a last-minute corner kick.

“(Freeport) had two shots all night and just one on goal,” Hagerty. “When two of the best players in the conference are out, that makes a difference.”

The Clippers had a 5-1 edge in shots, got one key save from Owen and had five corner kicks to the Falcons’ one.

Freeport (2-1-1) got four saves from Wagner. After the contest, Coach Bob Strong was pleased with his team’s effort.

“Injuries are giving some of the other guys a chance to play minutes that we’ll need from them later in the season,” Strong said. “I was very pleased with the contributions we got from guys off the bench.

“They had more opportunities than we did and we made one mistake. All in all, we leave this game a better team. I’m pleased with the effort and we’ll take the result and move forward.”

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