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NHIAA Boys' Soccer: Pinkerton keeps it going as Boles gets 300th coaching win

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 17. 2017 11:58PM
Pinkerton boys' soccer coach Kerry Boles is shown during a 2015 practice. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

DERRY — The Pinkerton Academy boys’ soccer team was 2-4 on Sept. 19 and the thought of Astros coach Kerry Boles achieving his 300th career win this season was largely an afterthought. An improbable run of success, though, brought the milestone back to the forefront before the mission was completed with Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Concord.

“I’m feeling pretty good about getting this out of the way and being able to focus on this team,” said Boles, who is in his 26th season at Pinkerton. “I know (the milestone) has been somewhat of a distraction and the guys know it, too. I can’t say enough about the resiliency of these guys because Concord, which is a quality team, had us backpedaling quite a few times.

“We’ve talked all season about getting up and when we score two goals, we haven’t lost yet.”

The win was Pinkerton’s ninth straight.

After a scoreless opening half filled with ringing posts and crossbars at both nets, the Astros (11-4) struck in the 47th minute when Ashim Gurung stumbled upon a Joe Palmer free kick in the left corner and crossed to a streaking Perry to make it 1-0.

Alasdair Ferrier snuck a poke inside the right post to help Concord (10-4-1) tie in the 61st minute. The strike appeared to deflate Pinkerton, which almost fell behind four minutes later if not for a big save from goalie Max Fairbank (six saves) on a second chance after Concord’s Taylor Silverstein squared up the crossbar from inside the 18-yard box.

The resiliency Boles saw from his group shined most on the ensuing counter after Concord nearly went ahead. The Astros cashed in on the last of their four free kicks inside the offensive zone when Palmer found the head of a streaking Perry in the 67th minute for what would prove to be the game-winner.

“It’s something that we continue to take pride in,” Boles said of his team’s set pieces. “There are certain things we do every single day because when we get into games we know they are going to happen. ... We try to be creative knowing teams are coming in looking to take a play away. Instead, we come up with a new one and that comes with kids paying attention and doing what they need to do.”

The Astros conclude the regular season on Friday at home against Exeter.

It’s no coincidence that Pinkerton’s success over the last month comes with the return of Perry, who returned to the lineup earlier this month following a concussion.

“It’s something like 30-5 in goals since he’s come back,” Boles said. “Kids are now committed to playing defense and back in comfortable spots, which wasn’t the case when he was out. We had players in very unfamiliar spots trying to fill in the leaks that we could and ended up creating some along the way. We’ve found a way now.”

As far as No. 300 goes for Boles, the manner in which his team got him there might trump reaching the mark.

“We started this thing against Dover, but it really got going in the Mack Plaque game against an undefeated Londonderry team,” Boles said. “At that point, for us to think that we were going to put together our best performance of the year to get this going was insane. It’s still insane that we’ve continued it.”