Colchester - Bacon Academy scored on a penalty kick a little over three minutes into Wednesday afternoon's showdown between two unbeaten Eastern Connecticut Conference boys' soccer powers.
And Bacon coach Andrew Storton wasn't about to change strategies then.
"If we changed anything then, that would have been a long time to hold on," Storton said.
As it turned out, it was a long time to hold on anyway, as the Bobcats absorbed the best shots of a hard-charging Montville team also eager to fire the first shot in a matchup that could play out in next week's ECC tournament and in the Class M state tournament after that.
Bacon, the top ranked team in the state's medium/small schools coaches' poll, topped No. 2 Montville by that same, slim 1-0 margin.
Ryan Goldberg scored for Bacon (13-1). Montville, which has outscored its opponents 67-8 this season with nine shutouts, is 14-1. The game did not count in either ECC race, with Bacon already having clinched the Large Division and Montville the Medium Division.
"Obviously, we would have wanted it to be the win on our side," said Montville's all-state midfielder, Connor Leeman. "We don't want to focus on (the penalty kick); we had plenty of chances. We were prepared for their speed. It just didn't go our way today.
"This was a big game to help us prepare for the state tournament. We could see them at least one or two more times, playing it forward."
The penalty kick was a point of contention for Montville coach Colin Delaney, who called the infraction on Bacon's Chad Ferro in the penalty area a "soft foul." Even Storton was hesitant, saying he was "on the fence" over the call.
"It looked like the player (on defense) might have just got there in time, but it was close," Storton said. "I thought maybe a corner kick."
Instead, Goldberg, who watched Ferro score a game-winning penalty kick in overtime Monday in a 2-1 victory over East Lyme, knocked the ball past Montville goalie Jeff Sorenson to ignite the large contingent of Bacon fans.
"It's extremely difficult," Delaney said of the manner in which the game was decided. "I never want to badmouth officials. It's not an easy job; I get that. But I talked to the other coach and he said it was a 50-50 ball and he didn't see a foul. It wasn't a penalty kick.
"In my opinion, this would have been a great draw."
Montville finished with 13 shots to seven for Bacon, including perhaps the Indians' best chance of the game just seconds into the second half when Jeff Tryon found himself with a one-on-one situation against Bacon goalie Connor McHugh. Tryon's shot rattled off McHugh before he covered it up.
Montville also had its only two corner kicks of the game back-to-back with about nine minutes remaining and had a strong chance that just cleared the crossbar.
Delaney, who previously scouted Bacon, said he was worried about the Bobcats' potentially explosive front line. About 10 minutes in, he realized his players could match that speed on the fly, he said, and pushed his defenders forward, generating more opportunities.
"Nine times out of 10, that would have gone in," Delaney said of Tryon's breakaway. "We had some head balls that could have gone in. We had some crosses that could have gone in. We just needed to finish. Against a good team, you have a smaller margin of error."
"When Montville gets chances, they can be deadly," said Storton, in his first season with the Bobcats. "I think they have a higher scoring average than we do. We play more of a possession game; we knew coming into today we had to keep it as long as we can. We have a technically gifted team which for me as a coach is brilliant. They hold their own."