LISBON — Hayden Fletcher scored three goals to help Monmouth remain unbeaten with a 5-1 boys soccer win over short-handed Lisbon on Monday.

Coming into the season, Lisbon knew its Mountain Valley Conference schedule was tough and knew the competition in Class C was very competitive, with six teams already with nine wins or more.

On Monday, the Greyhounds played with a limited bench of only two available substitutions. The deeper Mustangs scored three second-half goals to break open the contest and earn their 12th win of the season.

Each team has one game remaining on the schedule before heading to the playoffs next week. Lisbon drops to 9-4, and currently sits sixth in the Heal point standings, likely in line for hosting a preliminary game. Monmouth (12-0-1) is currently in the top spot with its unblemished record and will finish out the regular season at home against Carrabec/Madison on Thursday (3:30 p.m.)

“We’re just trying to change the focus. We knew this was coming, these teams are good,” Lisbon coach Shawn Rhoda said. “We’re just trying to hold on to the number six spot, stay healthy and get some our injured players back.”

Along with Fletcher’s three goals, Thomas Neal and Cameron Armstrong also scored for the Mustangs, and Gabe Martin dished out three assists.

“It’s been really important for us to have different scorers,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. ““We’ve reached that for a while now and Gabe has been embracing the fact that he doesn’t have to be a goal scorer, he can be a distributor. That’s the mentality we have right now and it’s kind of fun.”

After hosting Hall-Dale (11-0-1) on Thursday, Lisbon’s goal is to get healthy and make a charge in the playoffs, and Monday’s contest allowed Rhoda to mix things up on the field with different formations.

“Having (multiple players) out is always tough, you have to move guys around,” Rhoda said. “I thought these guys showed a lot of guts. We have some players that don’t get a lot of time that came in today. I told them (after the game) I was really proud of their effort.”

Monmouth possessed the ball for much of the opening 10 minutes of the contest but were kept off the board by aggressive goalkeeping by Lisbon’s Sean Moore, who finished the half with six saves.

After a Monmouth player was inadvertently taken down inside the box, Neal sent home the penalty kick for the game’s first score with 24:38 on the clock.

Less than a minute later, Fletcher knocked in the first of his three goals.

The Mustangs nearly made it 3-0 when a deflected ball hit the crossbar as time expired, preserving the 2-0 lead at the halftime break.

Monmouth outshot the Greyhounds 9-1 in the first 40 minutes.

“I liked the first half and how we played our strategy,” Rhoda said. “But you can only hold back good goal scorers for so long.”

Hayden Fletcher tallied another goal early in the second and added notched hat-trick score midway through off a Martin helper.

“It was a good run by Gabe after Cameron (Armstrong) found him, Gabe made a nice ball across the goal mouth and I was there,” Hayden Fletcher said. “We always work on crashing the net and getting good rebounds.”

Meanwhile, the Mustangs’ defense wore down the depleted Greyhounds in the second half.

“We’re trying to put in a lock-down defense; it didn’t quite occur today, but we have two weeks to work on it before the playoffs. It’s something that we have to do because we have challenging teams ahead of us,” Joe Fletcher said.

“Our focus was to sit in. Try to break one free,” Rhoda said. “(Monmouth) likes to move forward a lot. That’s what we tried to do, but when you’re down numbers, you have to move your offensive guys to the back.”

While it may have not been lockdown defense by the Mustangs, it was pretty darn close, as Lisbon managed its only goal with 2:24 left in the contest.

After Armstrong’s goal made it 5-0, Lisbon created a throw-in opportunity deep in Monmouth territory. Once thrown in, the ball was kicked around the box a few times and following a kick by Justin Violette, it bounced in the air where Lisbon sophomore Ring Ring headed it off the crossbar and in for a score.

“When I saw the ball up in the air, I knew I needed to head it,” Ring said. “I knew the goalie was right behind me, I could feel him breathing on me. So when I hit it, I wanted to flick it behind me, but when the ball hit my head, the goalie put his hand on my forehead and pulled me down.”

The ball hit the crossbar and came back down over the line for the goal.

Monmouth goalkeeper Brock Bates finished with three saves, while Moore turned away nine for Lisbon.

Ring said the Greyhounds are proud of their effort against the Mustangs.

“I think our team did amazing today. Monmouth is a really good team,” Ring said. “We did pretty well in the first half with our defense, and the offense played much better in the second.”

Monmouth players were happy with the outcome, beating an always tough Lisbon squad while also understanding the importance of improvement heading into the playoffs.

“We wanted to come out strong and get after it on both offense and defense and not allow a lot of shots and lock down the midfield, and we did that today,” Hayden Fletcher said.

“Lisbon never backs down and are always ready to battle,” Martin added. “As the season has progressed, our defense has gotten better, and we’ve improved as a whole and it’s starting to show.”

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