BLOOMFIELD, NJ - After suffering through three losses in its first four games this year, the Nutley boys soccer team put forth one of its most impressive efforts of the season on Tuesday afternoon when the Maroon Raiders posted a 2-1 victory over Bloomfield in Bloomfield.
Charlie Contini scored off a throw-in with eight minutes remaining in the second half to give Nutley the lead for good.
With the win, Nutley improved to 2-3 this fall and also snapped a two-game scoreless streak. The loss snapped a season-high three-game winning streak for Bloomfield, which fell to 4-3.
"This was a really big and important win for us," said Nutley head coach Tom Tolve. "Its a game we really needed to have.
After a scoreless first half, Nutley scored 15 minutes into the second half on a penalty kick by senior Nick Kirby.
Bloomfield knotted the game, 1-1, when junior Nathan Russell scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season off a free kick in the 62nd minute.
Nutley snapped the deadlock when Contini corralled a throw-in, turned and found the back of the next in the 72nd minute.
Contini, a senior, now owns two of Nutley's four goals this fall.
Nutley goalie Sebastian Lembo finished with eight saves while his counterpart, George Silva, halted six shots for Bloomfield.
"I'm very proud of our team for not giving up and being resilient," said Tolve. "Once they tied it up they could've packed it in and lost confidence, but they hung tough and were able to get the next goal."
And while Nutley entered the game with Bloomfield with a 1-3 record and mustering just two goals, the Maroon Raiders had played well. It dropped a 1-0 decision to undefeated Montclair, ranked No. 8 in the state.
Lembo was outstanding goal, stopping nine shots and allowing just one second-half goal.
"We played our butts off against a team ranked very high," said Tolve, now in his fourth season at the helm. "It was a great effort but still a 1-0 loss and a moral victory like that can only go so far."
Nutley will look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when it plays at Verona on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. That will be followed up with games at home against Technology (Oct. 27) and at Montclair Kimberley (Oct. 30).
"After a tough start to season, we're getting there," said Tolve. "At times we didn't think we would have a season so its been tough to adapt and didn't leave us a lot of time to get ready.
"But we have a good group of guys on this team, with the bulk being seniors and they're out there really enjoying the opportunity."