By Greg Phipps
After a slow start, the Peabody boys’ soccer team exploded for three goals in about an eight-minute span to grab a 3-1 lead over the Gloucester Fishermen Monday evening in the drizzle at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Tanners would repeat that same margin in the second half on their way to an important 6-2 victory.
The win ended a modest two-game losing streak and left Peabody at 4-2-1 on the season with a busy schedule of games to play this week – all against formidable opponents. Head coach Stan McKeen didn’t care for the team’s play over the first 15 minutes but was pleased to see his squad right the ship.
“I gave the team two days off without practice before today, and you saw how we started off,” he said. “But they got their act together and made plays out there.”
Peabody’s top scorer, Johnny Alves, turned things around with his team trailing 1-0. He raced hard to chase down a loose ball in front of the Gloucester goalie and was able to win possession and force it into the net to even the contest at one. The Tanners took control of the affair from there.
Ramon Falcao scored on a free kick and Michael Tansey made it 3-1 off a corner kick. Peabody increased its advantage to 4-1 when Tulio Nascimento netted one off a turnaround shot from the slot area. Gloucester then tallied to climb within 4-2, but the Tanners would manage the final two scores – Noah Surman and Josh Atemkeng doing the honors – to pull away for good.
Getting scoring from six different players was an encouraging sign for McKeen. “Six different guys scored today, and that’s what we’ve been looking for: more scoring balance,” he said. “Everyone contributed and it was a great team effort all the way around after we got off to a poor start.”
McKeen praised the team’s defensive play, in particular citing the efforts of Surman and Tansey. The offense is also showing marked improvement. Ball movement is the key to Peabody’s offensive attack.
“When we move the ball, we’re really a tough team to cover,” McKeen observed. “But there are times when some guys hold onto the ball a little too long. We’ll work on that and keep moving forward.”