TRUMBULL -- For 78 minutes, Tuesday afternoon's Fairfield Ludlowe-St. Joseph boys soccer game was teetering on a razor's edge, primed for one moment of brilliance from either team to break the scoreless deadlock.

And in the final 90 seconds, each team found itself with that glided opportunity to walk away from Indian Ledge Park with three points secured in the bank.

Instead, each chance came up a little bit short and the game ended in a 0-0 draw, symbolic of the gray, windy and wet early October day.

"It's the FCIAC, when you get the chance to win games, you should," Ludlowe coach Kevin O'Hara said. "Fair enough to Joe's, they fought hard today. It's unfortunate we couldn't find the back of the net."

Ludlowe, which is aiming for its first FCIAC tournament appearance in school history, dropped to 4-3-1, while St. Joseph earned its second straight draw after starting the season with six straight defeats.

The Falcons, who figure to be in the mix for one of the final league playoff spots, will probably regret some missed opportunities throughout the match. Ludlowe hit the post and had two goals called back for offside.

Nothing came as close as Christian Barral's chance in the 79th minute. From a corner kick, he settled the ball right in front of the St. Joseph goal and fired an off-balance, falling-down shot from close range that Cadets' keeper Paul Monks was able to block and smother the rebound.

"I saw it and I hit it as hard as I could, the goalie just happened to be there," the senior said. "We got a couple games up. If we really want to prove ourselves and make the FCIAC (playoffs), we have to go get the next five or six games."

Barral earlier looked to have threaded a through ball for Mahmoud Kafel to run onto, but Kafel was called offside. In the first half, Tobias Gimand had a good chance for the Falcons, heading a rebound off the crossbar high and wide.

Less than a minute after Barral's near-winner, it was Dan Gallagher's chance to be a late hero for St. Joseph on the other end of the field. His headed effort from the top of the box tailed wide of the goal as the final whistle sounded.

"We put in effort over the season. We've tried hard, but it's been ups and downs," said St. Joseph's John Imbimbo, who saw his 71st-minute effort parried away by Ludlowe keeper Ryan Arrigio. "We can't get down. We can still win games, we can still make states, so that really pushes us."

Perhaps emblematic of St. Joseph's early struggles -- the Cadets have only scored three goals in eight games -- was Chris Farens' nearly spectacular goal midway through the first half. Farens ripped a left-footed shot from long range outside the right side of the penalty box. It seemed destined to float into the top left corner, only it hit at the exact spot the goalpost meets the crossbar.

"I watched it, I looked at it as it was in the air, and I started running back and everyone stood up off the bench. When it hit the bar, I was like, `Oohhh,'" Farens said. "It was the best shot I took all season."

Farens later found himself with another chance midway through the second half. After a nifty six-pass sequence by the Cadets, Farens controlled a cross from the right by Sean Martino but lobbed a shot directly at Arrigio.

"We grabbed a point, so we're still alive," St. Joseph coach Steve Waizenegger said. "As long as we play hard and the boys are committed, we'll give some teams fits."


ST. JOSEPH 0 0--0

Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 4-3-1; St. Joseph 0-6-2. Goalies: FL--Ryan Arrigio (1 save); SJ--Paul Monks (4). Shots: FL--7; SJ--3.