The Fairfield Stags and the Fordham Rams battled it out at Fairfield’s home opener on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Lessing Field, but the Rams would leave with the 3-2 win to clinch their first win of their season.

According to Rashid Nuhu, the goalkeeper for the Rams, “We came in the game really confident and eager to get our first win of the season and we wanted to really work our opponent. It feels good to have gotten that off of our shoulders.”

The intensity was high throughout the entire game. The Stags and Rams are very similar in terms of their style of play, but the Stags missed several opportunities with final passes and defending set pieces.

Sophomore Charlie Reed said, “The game was full of mixed emotions. We had moments where everything was flowing and clicking, but we also had moments where we couldn’t connect a pass.”

In the first 15 minutes of the game, the pace started out slow as the Stags and Rams needed some time to get into a rhythm. Both teams started out playing more defensively, making them vulnerable for counterattacks.

However, the Rams finally broke the ice in the 27th minute of the first half getting ahead with a score of 1-0 after they were awarded a corner kick. Midfielder Janos Loebe was given the golden opportunity to strike the ball toward the center box where midfielder and defender Christopher Bazzini received the ball and hit it towards the bottom of the cross bar, which then passed the goal line.

“Both teams were being secured and not wanting to concede the first goal. But the momentum changed after the first goal and Fairfield wanted to get the equalizer while Fordham wanted to get more goals. That’s when the game opened up,” Nuhu said.

The second half quickened in pace as the Stags wanted to execute more offensively and impose their style of play on the Rams. However, it would be the Rams who came to dominate the pace by first slowing things down and then strategically speeding things up again.

“We knew Fairfield would come out very strong for the first 10 minutes of the second half so we just wanted to ride that out. Once you have the lead it’s a little easier to control the pace of the game,” Bazzini said.

Sophomore forward Ben Wignall scored the first goal for the Stags by sending a volley to the corner of the goal to boost the score to 2-1. Later on, Dominic Marshall ’17 took a penalty kick that was saved by Nuhu and then was saved again after Marshall attempted a header that flew toward the other side of the goal.

Senior goalkeeper, Matt Turner said. “We need to win more 50/50 balls and defend set plays better. Also, when we’re chasing the game, we need to balance risk and safety better so that those counterattacks don’t happen as we commit more numbers forward.”

After forward Andres Penfold scored the third goal for the Rams with 35 seconds left in the game, Marshall was able to successfully execute his fourth goal of the season, leading to the final score of 3-2 for the Rams.

“There was good energy, a ‘never say die’ attitude, and we showed character while chasing the game. I think that we needed to have more periods of sustained pressure and to be more clinical in the final third. On another night, we would have pulled out the win there, but that’s just how the game is,” Turner said.

Fairfield’s next game will be against Manhattan at Lessing Field on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

 


 

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