The Bellport boys soccer team kept waiting for one, big scoring opportunity.
Even as Huntington had chance after chance on offense, Bellport utilized a bend-but-don’t-break approach.
When the Clippers finally had a moment with the ball late in the first overtime, they made the most of it.
Brian Taylor sent a through ball deep into the Huntington defensive end. But teammate Jonathan Cruz blocked a Huntington clearing attempt with his lower body and scored a golden goal from 20 yards out with 1:18 left in the first overtime as visiting Bellport defeated Huntington, 1-0, in a Suffolk III game Saturday.
“I’m proud to score the goal that helped the team,” Cruz said through teammate Justin Barbecho, who interpreted. “It was important for us to get this win.”
Huntington (4-4) won the season opener, 2-1, against Bellport on Sept. 1, but struggled to finish multiple scoring opportunities throughout the match.
“Bellport was competitive and played a great game,” Huntington coach John Pagano said. “Plain and simple, we couldn’t find the back of the net. . . . It’s all about execution.”
The Blue Devils were, well, bedeviled on offense Saturday. Huntington out shot Bellport, 25-7. But they missed high, and they missed wide. They hit the side of the net on a few occasions and even the crossbar with less than three minutes left in regulation. Bellport goalie Sam Hampson was also a source of frustration for the Blue Devils with 13 saves, including a handful from point-blank range.
“We just came here Saturday to get the job done,” Hampson said. “It’s definitely a momentum changer to get this win.”
Bellport (4-4-1) and Huntington are behind front-running Newfield, Smithtown East and North Babylon in a ultra-competitive Suffolk League III.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime -- who’s going to make the first mistake us or Huntington,” Hampson said. “Luckily, we didn’t.”
The Bellport backline was challenged throughout the game, but hung tough.
“We all kept pushing each other and playing together as a defense,” Barbecho said. “We knew eventually it would happen.”
Bellport assistant coach Joe Malandro added: “This was our third game in five days. We knew we would have to find a way to get the job done without our legs.
“We played smart and we played tough. Fortunately, we found a way to get it done. We knew it was a matter of not if, but when. We worked hard to get that opportunity.”
And made it count.