Second-half goals by Victor Anyangwe and Eddie Bassey helped Poly to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit for an eventual 2-2, double-overtime tie yesterday at Patterson, as the Engineers remained on course to dethrone the four-time Baltimore City league champs.
If Poly (5-2-1, 4-0-1) wins one of its last two regular-season games against Forest Park and City -- teams the Engineers already have beaten once -- the Engineers will take the regular-season title from Patterson (4-3-2, 4-1-1).
Then it's on to the rematch of last season's title game, won by the Clippers.
"They'll be there and we'll be there. I'm sure it's going to be a great game," said second-year Poly coach Rob Wood. "Today, we kept our composure and played better in the second half."
Yesterday's soggy pitch and several mud puddles made for treacherous footing.
But early on, it appeared Patterson was on its way toward avenging an earlier 1-0 loss in which Corey Cascio's goal was assisted by Matt Wood.
Bobby Oxendine scored both of the Clippers' first-half goals yesterday. The first score came only two minutes into the game, and the second, nine minutes before halftime. The goals were assisted by Wayne Wearins and Chris Tipton, respectively.
From there, Patterson controlled much of the first-half tempo with midfielder Gino Zarro, who cleared a sure goal off the goal mouth moments before halftime, and players such as freshmen Josh Robinson and William Ordonez.
Defenders Nelson Rivera, a sophomore who was on the junior varsity until the third game of the year, and 6-foot, 215-pound senior Rocky Lewis made it difficult for the Engineers' offense.
"They had a little extra incentive because of the fact that we beat them last time," Wood said. "We let them dictate the pace in the first half by playing their game."
But as Poly pushed hard for a score in the second half, with the speed and skills of Bassey, Anyangwe, Eduardo Carrasquella and Josh Kraft, the Clippers' defense sagged.
The results came 10 minutes into the second half.
Anyangwe, standing 10 yards out from the left-hand post, one-timed a loose ball with his left foot into the net's opposite corner.
The Engineers outshot the Clippers, 10-5, in the second half, getting another score from Bassey with seven minutes left in regulation.
"Down 2-0, I'm proud of how we came back," said Bassey, a junior. "We're just tired of losing to them."
Patterson keeper Chris Merrill finished with 17 saves, including nine in the second half. Merrill stopped six of Poly's seven first-half shots, and five of the first six in the second period. In the second overtime, Merrill deflected one dangerous, low shot by Bassey.
But Poly's Eric Roberts had something to do with shutting down Patterson.
Roberts finished with 15 saves, including three critical ones in the second overtime period. Twice during that period, Roberts denied Oxendine from close range.
"We lost our hearts after the first half. We were playing like we were losing and they took advantage," said Merrill, whose team was outshot, 23-15, in the game. "We should own this league, but we made too many mistakes."