Northville tops Novi for second time to lock up second place in KLAA Central
Novi – With second place in the KLAA Central on the line on Tuesday night, Northville and Novi were in a must-win situation of sorts to grab second place as the Mustangs held a one point lead over Novi in the division standings
While host Novi grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first half, Northville bounced back to score two second half goals off the foot of Dan Baldwin as the Mustangs topped Novi for a second time this season.
Northville head coach Henry Klimes said that he was pleased with his team’s effort on Tuesday night and added that even after falling behind in the first half, his team continued to get after it and eventually came out with a pair of second half goals that proved to be the difference.
“I think our work rate from the first half to the second half was outstanding,” he said. “We were down 1-0 in the first half, but I don’t think we deserved it, we hit the post a couple of times, they scored on a flick play, but we just kept plugging away and we were fortunate to play with the win in the second half and it paid off.”
Northville still sits in second place behind division leader, Livonia Stevenson, which locked up the division crown with a 1-0 win over Salem on Tuesday night.
Trailing 1-0 early in the second half, Northville wasted little time to knot the game up as Baldwin carried the ball into the box and sent a shot past the Novi keeper to get the Mustangs on the board with 32:10 left to go in the game.
Less than eight minutes later, Baldwin struck again as the senior found the back of the net after a free kick off the foot of Alec Morgan and a slight touch from Kyle Johnson set up the goal for Baldwin with just under 25 minutes left to play.
The two goals on Tuesday night were Baldwin’s team-leading eighth and ninth goals of the season.
Northville very well could have built a larger lead throughout the game but came up just short on a handful of opportunities, including three shots from Johnny Rodriguez that all hit off the crossbar and somehow stayed out of the net.
After Novi found scoring chances at times in the first half, Northville’s defense managed to limit the Wildcat’s scoring opportunities in the second half, something that Klimes credited to his team’s possessive style of play and also said that the wind played a bit of a factor as well.
“Novi’s a very good team and but they played a good counter-attack because they know we like to possess,” he said. “Having a little bit of the wind and being able to push it back in their zone, balls were being stopped at the midfield point, so we were able to have an extra defender there on top of that.”
Novi scored the game’s first goal on a near perfectly executed piece as a throw-in for the Wildcats traveled toward the box and a flick on from Tony Asimadu set up Ryan Kobakof, who took care of the rest to give Novi a 1-0 lead with 32:12 left in the first half.
Novi head coach Brian O’Leary said that he felt Northville was the better team throughout the entire game, despite his team holding a 1-0 lead for 40 minutes of the game.
“I think they (Northville) were better than us in both halves,” he said. “The score can be deceiving at times in soccer. I’ve won plenty of games where I got outplayed, and I’ve lost plenty of games where I got outplayed. The score in soccer is unique and you’re competing against the game, so at halftime when we were leading 1-0, I thought they were the better team. I thought they were the better team the whole game, I really did.
“Our biggest issue was the organization defensively, it was terrible. (Rodriguez) was the best player on the field all night, he hit the crossbar on the first shot.”