MONMOUTH — A fast and physical midseason soccer match between a pair of one-loss Mountain Valley Conference teams typically ends with only one team smiling. Monday’s tilt between Mt. Abram and Monmouth left observers grinning with anticipation of a possible postseason sequel.

Trevor Brackley’s goal 2:05 into the second half broke a scoreless tie and stood for the remaining 38 minutes, giving Mt. Abram a 1-0 win in a tight and tense defensive battle Monday.

Mt. Abram improved to 6-1-0, while Monmouth dropped to 7-2-0.

Tristen Dyer made nine saves in net for the Roadrunners. Kasey Smith (nine saves) was his match between the posts for the Mustangs until a turnover at midfield allowed Brackley to lead a quick counter with a good angle to carry around two defenders and get off a hard shot to Smith’s left about 3/4 of the way up the net.

“I just saw some space and went for it,” Brackley said. “I looked for a pass. I was going to dump it to the corner because that’s what Coach always says. But then I went around (a defender) and then I didn’t know what to do, so I tried beating him again. It worked out, I guess.”

“We came out flat (in the second half) and I’m not sure why,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said.

Dyer’s best stop came a little over six minutes into the contest, diving to his left to take down a bid for the far corner from about 30 yards.

“I saw the ball on the side, and they’d crossed over a few times. I wasn’t expecting a shot,” Dyer said. “When the kid hit it, it did spin and it was coming in different. I didn’t know if it was going to go in or not and I just dove. Luckily, I caught it.”

Monmouth’s Hunter Richardson and Josh Reny provided the bulk of the pressure on the Roadrunners’ defense in a game where players often had to create their own space.

“They’re not huge, but they’re really rugged. They could easily run over us and get through us,” Brackley said. “It was probably one of the more physical games we’ve played this year.”

“When they scored, I decided to change our formation. We went to a 2-3-2-3 and that took us a while to adjust to that new formation. But once we did, we started to control the play and generate chances,” Fletcher said. “But their keeper played well and their fullbacks played well.”

The Roadrunners had a golden opportunity for insurance midway through the second half when Smith whiffed trying to clear a loose ball at the top of the box, leaving a wide open net for Bryson Walker. Walker rushed his shot and it rolled wide right.

A hand ball by the Roadrunners in their own end with 14 minutes left gave the Mustangs a free kick. Richardson sent a chip over the wall to his left, but his teammate was whistled for offsides before the play could develop.

“I was very pleased that we did not break in the second half,” Mt. Abram coach Mark Lopez said. “That’s a game sometimes in the last year or two we’ve given away. So I’m very happy with the outcome.”

“We knew they were good and we played them to a standstill,” Fletcher said. “They had one good break. We stabbed at the ball three times (on the goal). We work so hard on containing the ball, and that’s what bothered me. The effort was there. We had opportunities. (Mt. Abram) plays hard… They play good defense.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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