CLAYMONT – Wilmington Charter junior Rhys Newcombe found something that worked on Nov. 1 at Archmere, so he went back to it, and his resulting two goals helped lift the Force past Archmere, 4-2, in a nonconference boys soccer matchup featuring two of the state’s better teams.
The teams were tied at a goal apiece at halftime, but after being dominated in possession time in the first half, Charter came out with something different in mind after intermission. The Force picked up a corner kick in the 50th minute, and Nolan Constantine sent the ball over the crease on the inbounds. There, Newcombe was waiting, and he headed the ball past Archmere keeper Blake Parker for the 2-1 lead.
The lead was short-lived, as Auks striker Sean Murray got the goal back four minutes later when he beat Force keeper Ben McQuillin low and left after coming up with a loose ball. It was Murray’s second goal of the afternoon.
Charter prevented Archmere from getting any momentum after the goal. On their next possession, the Force drove downfield and earned another corner. This time, Patrick O’Connor took the inbound pass. Again, the ball sailed over the crease, and again, Newcombe was there to send the ball in off his noggin.
The Force were fortunate to be tied at the half. Archmere dominated the first 40 minutes, and McQuillin was the only reason Charter was still in the contest. A try from 25 yards by Murray was deflected over the crossbar by McQuillin, and in the 22nd minute, the keeper made a point-blank save off an Auks corner kick.
Murray finally broke through in the 27th. Zach Dainton intercepted a clearing attempt by Charter. He waited patiently as Murray streaked up the middle of the field, the threaded a pass through a pair of Force defenders to a striding Murray, who beat McQuillin to the far post.
Dainton nearly had one of his own a minute later when his chip shot was lifted over the crossbar and on to the top of the net by McQuillin. Murray was stymied near the end of the half when Graeme Newcombe slid to block one of his shots.
Charter picked up the crucial tying goal about 30 seconds before the halftime whistle. Eamon O’Connor found the net with a header on a free kick from along the end line.
Michael Mattamira added an insurance goal in the contest’s closing minutes.
Archmere fell to 10-5 and now waits for the Division II state tournament brackets to be announced. Charter is now 11-2-1 and concludes the regular season on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at home vs. Newark.