Fenton — The Fenton varsity boys soccer team went through the entire Flint Metro League season without a loss — at least until Monday.
And it was that Monday loss that cost the Tigers their first Flint Metro League crown since 2009. In a game which the winner would get the outright Metro title, Lapeer West scored on a failed clear attempt by Fenton (6-1-1, 10-4-2) during the first half, earning a 1-0 victory at Fenton High School. If Fenton won the game, the Tigers would’ve been outright champions. If they tied, they would’ve shared the crown with Linden. A loss means the Tigers finish the season in third place.
“We just didn’t execute on offense,” Fenton senior Bradley Gornick said. “The defense played solid, but it’s a team effort. We are all responsible for what we did, but we played good.
“We still have a lot of season left. That was just one goal we had. We still have some other goals left. We just have to keep moving forward. We still have a lot of season to go.”
It was an evenly played game with both teams enjoying control for about a half. However, while a team might have had control, that didn’t necessarily result in shots on net. West had just two shots on frame in the first half, the 40-minute juncture they seemingly controlled. Meanwhile, needing a goal to tie the game at 1-all, Fenton managed just two shots on net in the second half.
“We tried to force things and guys tried to do too much, and we didn’t get the ball wide like we want to do,” Fenton coach Matt Sullivan said. “When we are successful, we play the ball wide, and we didn’t do that. It’s been like that all year. When (how we played tonight) happens, we lose.”
The only goal came with 29:27 left in the first half. As Fenton tried to clear its defensive zone, the ball deflected back into the Fenton box and Zachary O’Brien scored. It was the only outstanding scoring chance either team had in the contest. Fenton’s best chance may have come on a direct kick during the final two minutes of the first half, a shot from about 25 yards out. However, Evan Hudson’s shot was easily saved. Minus that, the Tigers struggled getting quality chances. They did have eight shots in the second half, but only two were on net.
Lapeer West (7-1-0, 15-2-1) managed just four shots all night long, including just two on net. However, one of them was enough to clinch the victory.
The Tigers start district play at home Monday against Brandon.
“We just are going to refocus and we are going to come back strong next week,” Gornick said. “We are going to come back tomorrow, play Brother Rice on Thursday and prepare for Brandon on Monday. We are looking to come back strong.”