Jared Showen scored for Salmon River in the 76th minute to force overtime. Evan Wheaton/Malone Telegram

FORT COVINGTON – Jared Showen gave the Salmon River boys soccer team life in the 76th minute of its home opener against Canton on Thursday.

Working up the middle, he found separation on the left flank and delivered a shot. The ball sailed past Canton’s Parker Hunt at the net as he dove for the ball.

The late goal forced an overtime period, but the Shamrocks ultimately fell to the Golden Bears, 2-1 after Canton’s Rhett Palmer caught a good bounce and drove it in with 3:43 left on the clock.

“I thought in the end they did a good job of attacking us in the back. I think in the back, we had some uncertainty,” Salmon River coach Tim Cook said. “We were trying some different things and I thought as the game went on, we kind of solidified.”

Showen’s scoring play was the product of an offense that got going late in regulation. Salmon River began finding separation and delivered short passes to one another in Canton’s territory while working the middle of the field.

“They just kept it kind of simple down there,” Cook said.

John Miller made two saves on nine shots in the first half. His day ramped up after the first frame, registering eight saves against a Canton offense that kept finding breakaways.

Miller often challenged strikers at the box, and came up big on several Golden Bears drives.

“In the first half they were all over him. In the second half we played better for him, but here’s the thing with Johnny, we play knowing he’s back there,” Cook said. “It doesn’t surprise me in the second half that he was a little more productive. We let balls go in there and he’ll go out and get them.

“In the first half, they missed a lot of their shots too, which is good. It means we pushed them that way.”

Canton’s first goal stemmed from a direct kick in the 10th minute. From there, both back lines were disruptive to opposing offenses.

“Their back line was a little better early, but I don’t think we tested them,” Cook said. “That’s not an insult to them; they’re good back there… I thought our guys in the first half in back were a little flat footed and dealing with who’s going to go where.”

Over time, the Shamrocks began to gel and establish their positioning and duties on the field, allowing them to have that opportunity to take the Golden Bears to the wire.

“I thought as the game went on, we got on our feet. I don’t think we played well in the first half, I thought they (Canton) played real well in the first half,” Cook said. “And in the second half, we started to catch them and tie it, which was nice.

“I’m glad we’re playing again. I think that’s the big thing.”

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