The Shelton High boys soccer team drew SCC Housatonic Division rivals Cheshire High, 1-1, last Wednesday night at Finn Stadium.
The Rams (2-4-2) tied the game with 11 seconds left to play, as senior Matthew Mueller rifled a shot past Shelton keeper Claudio LoBello.
“It’s heart-breaking,” Gaels coach Joe D’Auria said. “I still have to soak it in. We missed a few goals. We missed a lot of opportunities.”
Matt Stoll netted the lone Shelton (4-2-2) tally in the 46th minute, but their inability to add to their lead came back to haunt the Gaels.
Junior midfielder Matt Manzo hammered a shot toward the net in the 65th minute, but Ram keeper Evan Colechia parried it aside to keep the game 1-0.
Prior to that, Stoll collected a lofted pass out of the back from Joe Stein and turned inside a Cheshire defender. Stoll ripped a shot, but it sailed wide of the net in the 42nd minute.
The junior forward then got on the scoresheet in the 46th, corralling a deflected Manzo shot inside the 18-yard box and slotting a low shot past Colechia for his third tally of the season.
“We said, ‘one goal isn’t enough,’” D’Auria said. “You can’t keep a team like that in the game.”
Cheshire, which eliminated Shelton in the state tournament last year en route to a berth in the Class LL quarterfinals, came into the matchup on a three-game losing streak.
After falling behind, the Rams pressed ahead looking to avoid a fourth straight setback. Cheshire midfielder Nicholas Berardi lined up a free kick from 28 yards out at the hour mark, but the Gael defense, led Craig Foley, Stein, Austin Kothary and John Hunter, cut it out.
The equalizer came in the 79th. Mueller circled a bouncing ball, charged in from midfield and calmly knocked his shot past LoBello.
“You have to play the whole game,” D’Auria said.
Shelton went on to drop a 1-0 decision to Daniel Hand (8-0-1) at Finn Stadium on Monday.
The Gaels return to action on Friday and will face Amity High (7-1) in Woodbridge. Shelton pounded the Spartans, 4-0, back on Sept. 24, Amity’s lone loss of the season so far.
“It’s not going to get any easier,” D’Auria said. “We’ll make adjustments and hopefully things pan out.”