By DONNA FLANDERS
SWANTON — Ethan Jones scored late in the first half, giving Milton a 1-0 victory over host Missisquoi in Saturday’s Lake Division soccer game at MVU.
Chance Rose set up the goal a run that forced T-Bird keeper Kyle Gilbert to come off his line, then sent a cross to Jones for the score 5:11 before intermission.
Both teams got strong defense in front of their goalies, Gilbert and Milton’s Nolan Deep, but each side also had several great scoring chances in a game that featured four yellow cards, including two to one T-Bird that left Missisquoi shorthanded for the last 14:26.
The first big threat came midway through the first half, when Mitchell Bourdeau, Mason Lemnah, and Braylen Parent all had chances to score for MVU denied by defensive clears or outstanding saves by Deep.
Gilbert made some nice stops as well for his Thunderbirds, especially a sliding save with 18:50 showing on the board. Shortly after the day’s first caution was issued to Milton, MVU’s Caleb Perry served a great ball inside but Yellowjackets Zach Logan, Brandon Monaghan, Zach St. Amour, and Cameron Fougere were a brick wall on defense, continuously stopping any chance of a score or a run by MVU.
The Yellowjackets were awarded a direct kick with 15:02 left in the half but the ball sailed just over the goal, while Missisquoi matched Milton’s defense with its own strong showing in back by Ethan Teague, Paul Bouchard, Patrick Walker, Owen Charleston, and Perry.
With 11:36 remaining in the first half Milton had a perfect chance to score when a player was knocked down in the box to earn a penalty kick, but the shot hit off the top of the crossbar.
But six minutes later Milton broke through when, with 5:11 left, Rose brought the ball up and drew Gilbert out of the net then crossed the ball to Jones, who buried it deep into the net for a 1-0 Milton lead.
Mitchell Bourdeau connected on a great ball just six minutes into the second half for MVU, but his shot flew just over the crossbar. At the 31:41 mark Gavin Hubbard sent a direct kick at the upper corner area but Deep made a superb save, punching the ball wide. Ryan Raleigh was there for the rebound but couldn’t keep the ball inbounds as he kicked it into the side of the net.
Things were getting heated on the field as the teams, who played to a 3-3 tie in their first meeting, were playing hard and physical. With 30 minutes left MVU picked up its first card, for unsportsmanlike conduct, and 30 seconds later Rose had another breakaway against Gilbert, but the keeper came out strong and low and made another big play.
“Kyle kept us in the game,” coach Jim Hubbard said. “He played remarkable. Two or three breakaways was phenomenal.”
Yellowjacket Nick Desouza made a great run up the side line at 26:50 and passed to Rose, who in turn sent the ball to Cooper Goodrich for a shot that went just high.
With 14:26 remaining MVU went a man down when Gavin Hubbard picked up a second yellow, but the T-Birds pressed for the equalizer and thought they’d get It when Boudreau was fouled hard from behind with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, but the penalty kick Jim Hubbard felt was deserved was not awarded.
Milton was issued its second yellow for delay of the game in the final minutes.
Gilbert finished with 15 saves for MVU while Deep turned away 11 for Milton.