BANGOR, Maine — Lewiston High School senior midfielder Abdibaari Hersi had converted his first two penalty kicks this season, but this would be his most meaningful because it was in the second overtime of a game between two teams with just one loss each.
And he made no mistake with a perfectly placed spot kick with 2:05 remaining in the second OT to give Lewiston an enthralling 3-2 schoolboy soccer victory over Bangor Saturday morning.
Both teams exhibited a high level of skill with Lewiston’s speed and well-constructed attacks being countered by Bangor’s tenacity, physicality and air superiority. Both teams passed the ball impressively on the bumpy surface.
In the second OT, one of those Lewiston counter-attacks produced a two-on-two and Abdi-Shariff Hassan threaded a diagonal through ball to Maslah Hassan breaking down the left of the penalty area. Hassan was ruled to have been tripped by a Ram defender before he could get off his shot.
Hersi stepped up and drilled his penalty kick just beyond the reach of Bangor goalie Stanley Clarke, who had guessed correctly in diving to his left.
“I was kind of nervous because it was a big game for us. We needed the points,” said Hersi. “I hit it confidently. I put it as far away (from Clarke) as I could and I hit it as hard as I could, so even if he guessed right, it would have been hard for him to get it.”
“It was a really good shot,” said Clarke.
Lewiston is now 9-1-1 and extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1) while Bangor fell to 9-2 and had its three-game winning skein ended.
Bangor had the better of the play in the first half but the Blue Devils were gifted a goal when Clarke fumbled a bouncing ball and Gage Cote easily deposited it into the net.
“My team picked me up after that missed save,” said Clarke.
Lewiston put the Rams on the back foot in the second half and were rewarded when Maslah Hassan intercepted a pass, took a few strides and blazed a shot from the top of the 18 past Clarke.
But the Rams rallied to tie on goals 8:36 apart midway through the second half.
Nate Bach scored the first one off Clarke’s long punt.
He was able to tap the ball around a defender before ripping an authoritative half-volley past Lewiston goalie Austin Wing and into the far corner.
That ignited the Rams.
Andrew Barrowman scored the equalizer as he skimmed Garrett Johnson’s long throw-in into the penalty area before the ball pinballed back to him and he directed it past Wing.
Bangor pressed for the game-winner but Lewiston responded over the last 10 minutes of regulation and almost went ahead only to have Clarke make a terrific diving save off Hersi’s powerful shot labeled for the upper right corner.
That came just moments after Abdi-Shariff Hassan beat the offsides trap and broke in alone only to chip over the bar past the onrushing Clarke.
“We thought we had the game when we were up 2-0. But their two goals woke us up and we got back to our game,” said Hersi.
“It was a great game,” said Lewiston coach Mike McGraw. “To Bangor’s credit, they fought back. That’s what Bangor does. They took advantage of every situation they had. They’re a good team. We played with a little more assertiveness in the overtime and we eked it out on the penalty kick.
“A penalty kick is a hard way to lose. But I thought [Abdi-Shariff Hassan] fed Maslah perfectly and he was going to score. Their [defender] did the only thing he could do,” McGraw added. “I was proud of my kids.”
“To come back like we did was phenomenal. They showed tremendous character,” said Bangor coach David Patterson. “Every player stood up and responded to the challenge. Lewiston has a good team, a very well-coached team. They’re a very tough opponent.”
“We have a lot of heart,” said Bangor junior center midfielder Liam Harrigan. “Today didn’t go our way, but we’ll keep our heads up.”
Wing finished with seven saves on 21 shots including two gems off Eli Clein in the game’s first two minutes as he dove to his right to stop Clein’s low shot from the top of the box and then scrambled out to smother an in-tight attempt off a Barrowman through ball.
“We expected a tough game because Bangor’s a very good team,” said Wing whose six first-half saves were instrumental in preventing Bangor from taking a lead.
Clarke wound up with four stops on 17 shots.