Pictured: Senior captain Dario Rigano scored on a second-half penalty kick as Middletown tied Lewis Mills on Thursday. (Photo by Paul Augeri)

By Paul Augeri
middlesexcountysports@gmail.com

MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown High boys soccer team overcame the absence of junior Marshall Butler for most of the second half to draw Lewis Mills 1-1 Thursday in a CCC South match at Rosek-Skubel Stadium.

Senior Dario Rigano converted a penalty kick after being dragged to the ground following a Middletown corner kick with less than 10 minutes left in the match. The guilty Mills defender received a yellow card.

Marshall Butler’s scoring chance gets away from him in the first half. (Photo by Paul Augeri)

The outcome was a satisfying one for the Blue Dragons. They played the final 30 minutes without Butler after the striker knocked knees with a Mills player and came off. Coach Sal Emanuele expects him to be available when Middletown visits Northwest Catholic on Tuesday.

“When you’re down a goal and looking to get the equalizer, it’s a tough situation when you don’t have Marshall,” said Emanuele. “But we stepped up the urgency and kept working hard to the end.”

Marshall and Rigano share the team lead in goals.

Middletown (5-1-3) also played without Joao Oliveira, one of four captains, who suffered a concussion in Monday’s game at Enfield.

“Obviously you always go for the win, but you take the tie under these circumstances,” Emanuele said. “This was a positive result, especially being down two of our key players.”

Charlie Joiner gave Mills (4-1-3) the lead in the 15th minute when took a lead pass and beat freshman goalkeeper Tyler Hahn, who had 5 saves for the Blue Dragons.

Ryan Mayes had 5 saves for the Spartans.

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