Strong second half lifts Rockets over Rebels

Senior Matt Dougherty (20) moves the ball down the wing during his two-goal performance at Walpole on Monday.

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Herget Division rivals Needham and Walpole met on the pitch at Bird Middle School on Monday afternoon for the second and final time this season. The Rockets (7-2-1, 6-1-1) came to Walpole looking to complete the season sweep of the Rebels (2-6-1, 2-4-0) after earning a 3-0 win in Needham back on September 10. Walpole, meanwhile, was looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season after a 3-0 victory over Milton on October 3.

Senior captain Steven Donovan got the Rockets on the board less than four minutes in, breaking in and winning a battle for a loose ball before turning and lofting up a beautiful ball over the shoulder of Walpole keeper Sebastian Pignone for a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, John Brady nearly tied the game for Walpole, ringing a ball off the crossbar on a break. With 32:02 to play in the half, however, Brady got another chance and this time made it count, heading home a corner to tie things at one. Needham controlled the majority of play for the remainder of the half, but the Rockets were unable to bury the go-ahead goal as the game entered halftime at one apiece.

Walpole’s Daniel Gourdoukis (24) performs a slide tackle on Needham’s Steven Donovan (23) early in the first half.

Walpole’s Daniel Gourdoukis (24) performs a slide tackle on Needham’s Steven Donovan (23) early in the first half.

Following the break, Matt Dougherty took over the game for Needham. The senior forward potted home a pair of goals in a span of 4:28. Dougherty’s first came via a header on a corner kick with 37:58 to play before booting home a loose ball in the box off of a free kick with 33:20 remaining to make it a 3-1 game.

Walpole called a timeout following the second goal by Dougherty to try and recuperate, but Needham kept its foot on the gas. With nine minutes remaining, Daniel Faynstein finished a cross from freshman Dilin Meloni to make it a 4-1 game. Senior Ben Lobel put the icing on the cake by finishing a feed from Majeed Bugazia as Needham finished off their four-goal second half barrage to take the contest 5-1.

The Rockets will look to stick to their winning ways when they host Braintree this afternoon. Walpole, meanwhile, will try and get back on track against Framingham today, as well.

For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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