CRANFORD - Tim O'Donovan scored the lone goal to lead second-seeded Cranford to a 1-0 victory over sixth-seeded Colonia in the semifinal round of the Central, East E tournament on Thursday.
O'Donovan's goal came via penalty kick with 15:56 remaining in the second-half after Pat Ganley was fouled in the box. Colonia's goalie Andrew Lukaszewski read O'Donovan the whole way, but his dive came up just short as the ball ricocheted off his finger tips and off the left post to the back of the net.
"I was pretty nervous, not going to lie, said O'Donovan. "I open up my hips and act like I'm going one way, then go the opposite. I like to hope I can send the keeper the wrong way, but this time he didn't. He got a hand on it, but thankfully it was enough into the corner."
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The Cougars had their fair share of chances throughout, including two first-half shots that clanked off the crossbar. O'Donovan said the near misses didn't cause the offense to fret.
"We had some chances to make this game a lot more comfortable than it was," said O'Donovan. "But we kept at it and kept putting the ball forward and getting into the box and eventually we got one."
"We use that. We use those shots off the post as fuel," added Drew Goldfeder. "I look at those as chances that miss that should have gone in, so we got to go make it up."
Goldfeder, Cranford's centre-back, can be often heard directing the back line on positioning and assignments, and it was no different in the final minutes as Colonia ramped up the pressure.
"When it comes to the game, I'm really loud and really amped," said Goldfeder. "I try to either calm everybody down or bring them up when needed. I like to keep everybody's head up and spirits high."
Despite heavy fire towards the end, Cranford goalie Dom Savinelli finished with five saves to complete his fourth shutout of the season.
"It was a scrappy game," said Savinelli. "I told everyone to keep their head up and get the ball up. Just little things that make the game easier, and I think we did everything right today."
Cranford will travel this Saturday to take on top-seeded Colts Neck in the finals, tentatively set for 2 p.m.