Dieu Merci gives North a late win over BG

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua North's Joe Morse pounces on the ball after Bishop Guertin goalie Michael Poublon loses the handle. Morse tapped it into the open net for a first-half goal in Tuesday's Division I game at Stellos Stadium.

NASHUA – Merci, Cardinals and officials.

Rule of thumb when playing the Nashua High School North boys soccer team:

Don’t give Titan Sami Dieu Merci a free kick late in a game, because he doesn’t miss.

He boomed a 25 yarder just out of the reach of Bishop Guertin goalie Michael Poublon inside of 20 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Titans a 2-1 win Tuesday at Stellos Stadium.

Officials ruled obstruction on BG defender Alex Belanger to give Dieu Merci the free boot, in what appeared to be a call that could’ve gone either way.

“It was a nice goal but I didn’t see anything,” Guertin coach Valdemir “Rocky” Roque said. “I thought (Belanger) was just standing there, doing nothing (wrong).”

“I’m going to plead the fifth on that one” North coach Josh Downing said with a grin, his team now 9-2-1 as they push forward toward a good tourney seeding.

In any event Dieu Merci was on target, which somewhat negated a fantastic 13 saves by Poulbon. “It could go either way, I’ll take it.”

And he’ll take the ball off Dieu Merci’s foot. He won a game in overtime vs. Londonderry earlier in the year on a similar kick, on a much more obvious call.

“He has a good strike,” Downing said of his forward. “When has that ball on that side of the field, he usually makes it count.”

“I was looking at the goal,” said Dieu Merci, explaining his accuracy.

Guertin’s Mark McGaughey had the same accuracy in the first half on his own free kick, putting the 3-9-1 Cards up 1-0 some 18 minutes into the contest. The shot was just like North’s game winner, just out of the reach of the opposing goalie, Titan Stephen Norris, who also was outstanding with eight saves.

The Titans got the equalizer just under 33 minutes into first half, as Poublon lost the handle on a bouncer during a scramble in front and Titan Joseph Morse booted it home to make it 1-1.

North dominated the second half, although both teams had their chances.

“I thought we played a much better second half,” Downing said. “I thought in the first half we got away from our game a little bit.”

And Roque was happy with team, save the ending.

“They played much better,” Roque said of his team. “Michael was very good. I don’t have very much to say, just frustration.”

Dieu Merci will do that to you.