Mike Giuffrida had a goal and two assists, as No. 3 Fallston (8-0, 4-0) stopped visiting North Harford, 4-1, in a bruising boys soccer game on a cool, rainy evening last night.
Fallston's win, coupled with C. Milton Wright's 3-0 victory over Bel Air in the afternoon, kept the two unbeatens in the Harford County League on a collision course toward their meeting at Fallston next Thursday. In between Fallston goes to Aberdeen and C. Milton is at Edgewood on Tuesday.
North Harford (4-2-1, 2-2), which had not played well in a 4-1 loss to Wright last week, was much more intense in this one and within a goal until the 54th minute. In contrast, against Wright, the Hawks had yielded a goal in the opening minute and were down 4-0 by the half.
Kevin Morgan provided Fallston with breathing room in this emotional battle between long-standing rivals when he converted a pass from Giuffrida into a goal and a 3-1 lead 15 minutes into the second half. David Peterson got the last goal on a penalty kick 13 minutes later.
"I can understand their intensity," said Fallston coach Len Petrey of North Harford's play -- which became a matter of frustration down the stretch. "Everybody guns for us. I'd have to say we're on top, but I can understand the desire of the others to get there."
Each side got its first goal off a corner kick.
For Fallston, Giuffrida opened the scoring when he went up over everybody to head Steve Schissler's corner kick past North Harford goalie David Zorn, who went up, but had three Fallston players in his face. At the other end, Keith Smith turned Jason Bellamy's corner kick into the tying goal with a nice play at the near post.
The tie lasted less than a minute, as Zorn came out to deflect a shot and Giuffrida got the loose ball to Brian Benner in front of the open goal.
North Harford played well between the 18-yard lines, but Fallston thwarted its scoring chances. The Hawks had one good chance to score when the count was 3-1, but Smith's penalty kick was pushed aside by Fallston keeper Eric McPhee.
"He likes the challenge of those kicks and works on them in practice," Petrey said of McPhee. "It's a guessing game, but he got good extension and did a nice job. It was a clean save."