SWAMPSCOTT– After a tough slate of results last week, Peabody boys soccer coach Stan McKeen was hoping the Tanners would generate more offense sooner rather than later.
Peabody’s offense looked fluid early on in Monday’s tilt against Northeastern Conference foe Swampscott, and a hat trick performance from Michael Tansey was all the Tanners needed for a 3-1 win at Blocksidge Field.
“We did a good job moving the ball today,” McKeen said. “We moved the ball well, played good defense and took advantage of opportunities. The corner kick’s been a weapon for us. I’m pleased.”
The game was a defensive clash between the two teams for the first 22 minutes of play. Peabody’s Tansey, a defender, ended the scoring drought when he picked up a pass from Jonathan Alves and headed the hall past Big Blue keeper Oscar Hale for the 1-0 Tanners lead.
“Michael’s been one of our two most consistent players all season,” McKeen said. “He’s always at the right place, at the right time. He has good skills and he’s smart. He had an exceptional game.”
It didn’t take long for Swampscott to respond. Two minutes later, Swampscott’s Marino Tatafiore put the Big Blue on the board after capitalizing on a one-on-one opportunity to tie the game at 1-1.
“Our mentality is that the next five minutes after a goal, no matter who scores, are the most important five minutes of the game,” Swampscott coach Mike Amaral said. “Once those five minutes started, we had to come with 100 percent energy.”
Tansey stepped up again for the Tanners, this time scoring on a header from Andrew Prousalis’ corner kick. Tansey’s goal reclaimed the lead for Peabody, 2-1, and that’s where it stayed at halftime.
In the 51st minute, Tansey found the back of the net again to complete the hat trick and give Peabody breathing room with a 3-1 advantage.
“I told them (at halftime) that the the next goal would be the difference,” McKeen said. “It was all about who got the next goal. You could see Swampscott deflate a little bit when we scored that third goal to make it a 3-1 game.”
From there, the Tanners were able to play a relaxed brand of their game. Peabody’s defense kept Swampscott off the board the rest of the way and walked away with the 3-1 win.
“That third goal was the difference,” McKeen said. “We needed this win. We lost three in a row, so we really needed this game.
“Troy Cappos did really well in net,” McKeen added. “Chris Belliveau played well on defense, he takes control with the ball back there. Andrew Prousalis played well in the middle.”
Peabody improved to 5-4-1 on the season while the Big Blue dropped to 2-8. Although Swampscott’s currently in the middle of a tough season, Amaral sees a bright future ahead for his team.
“We’re a young team, we’re still working through it,” Amaral said. “We’re looking to turn some heads this season. Next year will be a better year.”
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday as Swampscott battles Somerville and Peabody clashes against Beverly.