LISBON FALLS — As play continued Thursday, Lisbon's narrow lead felt slimmer and slimmer by the moment.
The Greyhounds took an early one-goal lead but were forced to play the rest of the game a man short because of a red card. As hard as Lisbon tried to add insurance, Telstar stayed within reach and only sensed greater opportunity for themselves as a result.
"The momentum was defintely going our way," said Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester. "We punched one in fairly early, and I thought we could build off that. It hurts when you have to play a man down. The kids showed great effort out of that."
Lisbon never did get that second goal but made the 1-0 score stand up in a hard-fought victory over the Rebels.
"What was impressive was that they played a man down, and they still put that much pressure on us," said Telstar coach John Eliot.
The Greyhounds (2-4-1) got a Brady Fenderson goal 4:32 into the game. He cut around a pair of defenders to get in for a shot. Lisbon dominated the game early and outshot Telstar 14-3 in the first half.
With 17:38 left in the half, Fenderson earned a yellow and then a red card. Lisbon was forced to play a man down the rest of the way and won't have Fenderson in the lineup Saturday against Mountain Valley.
It gave the Rebels (1-6-1) the opportunity to rally, but Telstar couldn't take advantage.
"I wish we could have possessed the ball a little more and seen some better passes," said Eliot, whose team had just 13 players and have lost six straight since starting the year 1-0-1. "You have to give it to them. They're a tough team. They possessed the ball. They kept it down in their end a lot. We were playing back. We needed to win the ball more."
Lisbon had chances to add to its lead. Austin Fournier and Elliot Manocal each had nice opportunities up front. Lisbon even had a tip in the goal mouth off a corner that nearly went in.
Telstar keeper Dylan Helms was outstanding with 15 saves.
"I thought we really spread the ball, even with a man down," said Sylvester. "We were putting the ball to the flags and kids were making their runs like they were supposed to. We had our opportunities, but it's that thing we've been working on - finishing that final part of it."
Telstar picked up its play in the second half and began creating some quality chances of its own. Nic Conrad had a free kick knocked down by Lisbon keeper Nate Bergeron. Camron Rothwell and Mohammed Al Zubadi each had quality bids saved. Then in the final minutes, Conrad had a corner and a cross that couldn't find a Rebel on the other end.
"We just couldn't string it together," said Eliot.
Lisbon had put freshman Jake Angelico on Conrad, and he did an excellent job defensively. Sylvester was pleased to see newcomers like Angelico and Fournier step up and contribute.
"We were hopping to keep Conrad off the ball as much as possible because he's dangerous up front," said Sylvester.
Lisbon had some fine chances in the second half. Kyle Whitman raced by two defenders for a shot that was saved. Helms also made nice stops on Mike Demerast and Andrew Gamache. Fournier had a free kick go just wide.