PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Thursday’s showdown between co-leaders in the Berkshire North boys soccer league settled nothing but proved that the Pittsfied’s Jackson Rich has not lost his flare for the dramatic.
Pittsfield, which earlier this week came from behind and beat Mount Greylock with a Rich goal in the 76th minute, again used a goal from the senior in the 76th minute Thursday to tie Lenox, 2-2, at Kirvin Park.
“I think we have a lot of heart, and I think the game against Greylock proved it,” Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil said. “We can battle back, and we can, throughout the season, get down to business. It would be nice to play like that for 80 minutes.
“But I think they realize, ‘OK, we can’t lose today, we have to get down to business and play our system and not get too creative and get too off course.’ “
Pittsfield (3-0-2, 3-0-1 North) actually took the early lead on Thursday, taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce in the goal box.
Cristian Mendez sent a cross from deep on the right wing that Lenox keeper Matt Tibbetts got his gloves on. But the ball bounded off Tibbetts and to Luke Dallenbach, who finished to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Lenox (3-1-1, 2-0-1) answered midway through the half when Nic Baruch fed Mike Abdalla on a run up the middle, and Abdalla finished for his second goal of the season to tie the game at half-time.
The Millionaires dominated the early stages of the second half but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Midfielder Alec Jordan had a couple of tries that went just high. Abdalla was denied on a diving stop by PHS keeper Jon Bile (five saves).
Antil called a timeout midway through the half to get his team back on track.
“When I called a timeout, I told them: Settle the ball down, control the middle of the field, and it unfolds from there,” Antil said. “But you’ve got to trust the system. You’ve got to trust that if we take a couple more passes in the middle of the field, get our players forward, get a short pass to the forwards instead of a long pass, that’s how goals will happen.”
Although things did even out a little after the timeout, it was Lenox that got the next goal -- in the 68th minute when Abdalla cashed in the rebound of a Nick Montelone shot for what Millionaires’ fans thought might be the game-winner.
But Pittsfield had other ideas. And after Bile came off his line to deny Baruch in the 73rd minute, the Generals got out of their own end and worked their way toward the chance that Rich converted with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left.
It started with a Dallenbach shot from the right wing that Tibbetts saved, but he could not control the rebound in traffic, and Rich was able to knock the ball into the back of the net to earn the tie.
Lenox coach David Pugh said he had a feeling two goals was not going to be enough against Pittsfield.
“If you looked at the game, I think we had the majority of the pressure versus them,” he said. “They made some adjustments tactically that gave them some offensive pressure. And I had to make an adjustment to get one of my forwards back to stabilize our midfield. Because we were pretty weak there today because of our health.
“But we had some opportunities. I knew we had to capitalize. In my mind, three goals was the magic number today. I knew they could score.”
Lenox travels to Gateway on Saturday. Pittsfield goes to Berkshire Community College Friday to face Taconic.