For a moment, it looked as if Northville would to be spending the last 15 minutes of their Tuesday night soccer matchup with Plymouth simply trying to hold onto a draw.
Playing a man down after Owen Marshall received his second yellow card, Northville received a free kick from 35 yards out in the final minute. That’s when senior captain Collin Neal centered a free kick from 35 yards out that found the head of Andrew Mitchell and landed in the back of the net with 14 seconds remaining to lift Northville (6-2-1) to a 2-1 victory over Plymouth (6-1-3).
“You just send it into the box and hope for a play to happen, and Mr. Mitchell just got his head on it,” said Northville coach Henry Klimes.
Tied 1-1 at the time of Marshall’s penalty, Klimes assured his players the only way they’d come out on top was to keep their composure.
“I told the guys we had to buckle up and play a little smarter,” Klimes said. “I thought we played well a man down and we created the opportunity.”
All of the scoring came in the second half, starting with a laser off the foot of Northville senior Tyler Schneider that put Northville up 1-0 and left the Plymouth goalkeeper with “no chance,” according to Klimes.
The play began with Felipe McCarthy beating two Plymouth defenders to the edge and finding a seam to dish the ball to Schneider, who was 18 yards out. It was a play that Northville had been practicing all week.
“The coaching staff was happy to see something that we’ve been working on finally get some results,” Klimes said.
The equalizer came minutes later from Plymouth’s Tom Sullivan. After Marshall’s penalty, it seemed like everything was going the Wildcats’ way.
“I thought we played well, we just didn’t capitalize on the chances we had,” Plymouth coach Jeff Neschich said. “We were pressing, we had a half-dozen quality scoring chances, and then they just got a goal on a set piece.”
Tuesday’s game was the first loss for Plymouth in their last seven games.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.