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Week 6: NFA downs WA

Woodstock Academy boys soccer coach Paul Rearden admitted to feeling a bit like being on the outside looking in.

He had missed the last five matches due to a family emergency in England.

After coming back for a couple of practices, he was back on the pitch on the road at Norwich Free Academy.

“Missing a couple of weeks in midseason is something I’ve never done before so it’s hard to plan practices for a game in two days’ time because you have missed the past two weeks and you don’t know what’s pressing,” Rearden said. “It was good to be at a game (Thursday) but it still felt like I was playing catch up.”

There were things that assistant coach Jason Tata had installed as far as formations and personnel that had worked and Rearden had to familiarize himself with.

There were also the intangibles such as who is playing best currently.

“It’s one thing to be told it and another to actually see and feel it,” Rearden said.

The result was not what Rearden or the Centaurs wanted as they fell to the host Wildcats, 4-1.

The Centaurs were scored on first by the Wildcats but were able to get the equalizer shortly thereafter.

Norwich Free Academy was called for a handball inside the area.

It’s not a call that teams get as often anymore and the NFA coaching staff questioned it.

So did Rearden, not the call, but the spot from which the penalty kick was to be taken.

“The markings on that field, you can’t see the lines. There are so many lines on the field, they have it marked up with different colors and such. I couldn’t even tell if the handball was inside the box because I couldn’t tell where the box was,” Rearden said.

Those lines almost came into play just before the PK call as a ball was sent in by Woodstock Academy. The NFA keeper got a hand on it and it hit the crossbar and fell straight down. The officials ruled it did not go over the goal line.

When everything was straightened out, Rearden chose Noah Page to shoot the penalty kick and the senior delivered his third goal of the season.

Unfortunately, the good times wouldn’t last.

NFA scored its second goal late in the first half to take a 2-1 lead in what Rearden considered to be a pretty even match.

Then, disaster struck when an NFA corner resulted in the ball striking a Woodstock Academy player with the ball finding its way into the Centaurs net.

“The first two goals we could have and should have cleared but we were indecisive and the third goal was just unlucky,” Rearden said. 

Rearden then moved up the defense a bit and left only three in the back which helped the Wildcats create the insurmountable advantage.

“I gambled,.” Rearden said. “It was one of those, ‘you might as well get me 4-1 instead of 3-1’ as we got caught up outnumbered. Until that third goal, it was pretty even.”

The Centaurs go into the next-to-last week of the regular season with a 4-5-2 overall record and a 1-3 mark in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

Woodstock Academy still has bookend home matches against Bacon Academy and Ledyard and away matches at Fitch, Granby and East Lyme.

“We’ve told them that this is the business end now and we need to get over the line,” Rearden said.