MONMOUTH — Saturday’s battle of the two top teams in Class C South Heal points lived up to its billing. Monmouth and Lisbon played sturdy defense and mostly took advantage of the few opportunities each side allowed the other.

Chandler Harris headed in a corner kick from Hunter Richardson with a little over 10 minutes left in the first half, and it stood up as the game-winner for Monmouth in a 2-1 victory over Lisbon at Monmouth Academy’s homecoming.

“Hunter played a beautiful ball right into me. It was just set up. I got over the guy in front of me and put it in,” Harris said.

Monmouth (5-0-0) took the early lead after an exciting back-and-forth sequence that started with Mustangs goalie Bradley Neal (five saves) racing out of the net to challenge Lisbon’s Austin Bedford on a near-breakaway and sliding into the shot to knock the ball away.

The Mustangs quickly went on the counter-attack, getting the speedy Gage Cote in front of most of the defense in the transition. Lisbon (4-1-0) goalie Jonah Sautter stopped his first shot, but the backspin on the deflection sent the ball behind him and Cote followed his shot into a wide-open net for a 1-0 lead at 12:42.

“That was huge. We just needed to settle down and play like we usually do,” Harris said. “The defense played great today, the best they have all year, I think.”

A foul in the penalty box gave Lisbon a chance to respond 1:43 later, and Austin Fournier placed the penalty kick to Neal’s right for a 1-1 tie.

The Greyhounds didn’t do much to threaten Monmouth’s lead after Harris’ goal. They mustered just three shots in the first half, thanks in part to a Mustangs defense led by Travis Hartford, Dylan Goff, Nick Dovinsky, Nick Sanborn and Ben Larson.

“With the exception of the one foul, we played well,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “They didn’t really have outstanding chances.”

“I thought we played a little flat and didn’t challenge them to the ball in the first half,” Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester said. “I thought in the second half, considering we had two of our better players on the bench, we stepped it up a little bit.”

With Bedford and Fournier sidelined by injuries in the second half, the Greyhounds still managed to control possession for most of the second half. Most of their shots, however, were wide of the net.

“We felt like we controlled the first half and the second half was maybe a little more even,” Fletcher said. “We were laying back with the lead we had, not by design.”

Monmouth finished with 10 shots and a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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