Panthers escape Alvirne with 1-0 win

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua South's Jake Dukeshire (17) stands as an extra line of defense in front of goalie Roe Hendrick during pressure by Alvirne's Alex Clark, left, and Jake Dufour in the final seconds of the Panthers' 1-0 win in Hudson on Tuesday.

HUDSON – Nashua High School South boys soccer coach Joe Morgan had seen enough during the late moments of Tuesday’s clash with the Alvirne Broncos.

“Let’s just get the win,” Morgan said to his team, “and get out of here.”

The Panthers heard him, surviving a Bronco rush in the final moments – a corner kick with no more than 20 seconds to go – to escape with a 1-0 win and move to 3-1 on the year.

Both teams had chances, Alvirne to tie and South to get that badly needed insurance goal.

“Don’t get me started,” said Morgan, whose team at least got a Jake Dukeshire goal at 29:38 of the first half. “You only need one. We defended pretty well but they had a couple of chances too. It could have easily been 2-1. … But I knew this game was going to be hard.”

Alvirne coach Marcos Vieira Filho was hoping that’s what would happen. His 0-4 team took it in the chin, 5-0 late last week vs. Goffstown but on Tuesday they competed, and competed hard.

Had they been able to convert a flurry in front of South netminder Roe Hendrick (four saves) in the game’s final moments, or had Nick Cardenas not put a free kick high above the crossbar earlier in the second half, perhaps things might have been different.

“Sometimes we’re unlucky,” Vieira Filho said, his team still scoreless in four games. “It didn’t fall in the back of the net but I’m proud of how they fought and at least they created opportunities.

“If you watched the last game, compared to this game, we’re a new team. One hundred percent different. That chance at the end with the corner, we never would’ve had that chance (before).”

What’s it going to take for the Broncos to break through? Vieira Filho is looking to the senior Cardenas.

“We have a finisher,” he said. “Once he gets one in the back of the net, I know his confidence will be up. He’s our guy, I have faith in him he’s going to get it going.”

Morgan wanted his offense to do the same thing. Patrick Hyde had a couple of golden chances on Alvirne keeper Mason Brooks (six saves) that were missed in the second half, but Dukeshire, who missed all of last year with a broken leg, did connect in the first on rush down left wing.

“I saw an opportunity to turn around the player, because (the Broncos) were on their back, turn around the field, dribbled in, cut back, and curled it in around the keeper,” Dukeshire said of his goal, his second on the year.

“He shoots a lot in practice,” Morgan said. “He hasn’t been scoring much of late, but he did well today. And we had a couple of open nets we missed as well.”

It could have been 2-0 at halftime as South’s Kody Lopez appeared to have scored on an indirect kick late in the half, but officials waved it off, saying there was no initial touch by Emanuel Orozco Alvarez.

What made this game so tough for the Panthers? Alvirne’s determination, for one, and perhaps South’s taking them just a tad lightly with defending champion Concord next today.

“We didn’t show up like we should’ve,” Dukeshire said, “and we didn’t put away chances that we could’ve.”

But they escaped, much to the Broncos’ chagrin.