MONMOUTH — Scoring goals often takes skill, instincts and athleticism, but sometimes it just comes down to being opportunistic.

Ryan Fairbanks found himself in the right place at the right time Monday afternoon. When the ball slipped off the keeper’s hands, he pounced on the chance and helped lift Lisbon to a 1-0 win over Monmouth in boys soccer.

The Greyhounds (3-1) were playing without three injured starters, but were still able to finish strong and hand Monmouth its first loss of the year (2-1).

“You’ve just got to put the ball in front of the net,” Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, get the opportunities and when they arrive, you have to finish them. Ryan did that. That’s a good win for us because they’re a good team and are going to get some wins.”

The two teams played scoreless well into the second half. When Mike Degou crossed the ball from the right corner, Monmouth keeper Robby Neal was at the right post to intercept. When the ball hit his hands, however, it slipped out of his grasp and bounced loose in front of an open net. Fairbanks charged after the loose ball and put it in with 9:32 left.

“Mike made a nice cross to me,” Fairbanks, a junior forward, said. “It was wet out. Balls were skipping everywhere. The goalie just got a bad touch on it, and I was in the right place at the right time. “


The goal came minutes after the Greyhounds had the chance to break the stalemate on a penalty kick. On a corner, Neal clobbered a Lisbon player in the box and officials awarded a penalty shot. Morgan Reeves fired a low shot to the left of Neal, but the Mustangs keeper dove to that side and made the stop. Neal finished a fine effort with 12 saves.

“That was  a good save,” said Fairbanks. “Usually stuff like that will get you down. We knew we couldn’t let that happen.”

Reeves had another bid with a high shot from the left side on a dead ball that Neal saved. Lisbon finished the second half tied with Monmouth in shots at nine despite the fact the Mustangs controlled play to start the second half.

“That penalty kick and that save, you worry about that momentum change,” Sylvester said. “I thought the guys did a good job trying to stay intense.”

Monmouth had a couple of chances late. Cam Copeland crossed the ball for Tim Whitmore, but Lisbon keeper Shane Tanguay  intercepted. Nick Trenholm had a shot from the left that went wide with nobody at the far post to run onto it. Whitmore finished with eight saves.

“We had our opportunities,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “We had a real good opportunity with seven minutes left on Nick’s cross.”


Lisbon outshot the Mustangs 8-1 in the first half. The Mustangs had pressure but just didn’t produce many quality shots. Lisbon had some bids but couldn’t get anything past Neal.

“It was so frustrating,” Fairbanks said. “The ball was getting mishit by the defenders a lot. The balls weren’t getting in the right place at the right time. It just wasn’t happening for us.”

In the second half, Monmouth had Lisbon on its heels early. Monmouth produced a number of shots including bids from Trenholm and Kyle Fletcher. It wasn’t until late in the half that the Greyhounds were able to respond.

“I think we may have outplayed them in the first half and in the first 12 to 15 minutes of the second half, but we got tired,” said Joe Fletcher, who has just 16 players on his roster and had just a couple of extras on the bench Monday. “That’s the first time that’s occurred this year.”

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