On a stormy night in Ocean City the Nor’easters finished out their season with an entertaining and convincing 4-0 win over the Brooklyn Knights.
Playing his last game in the blue & white uniform, Nor’easters all time leading goal scorer showed why he will be sorely missed by bagging a brace and leading the Nor’easters to their first home win of a frustrating season.
The night looked like it would be a frustrating one even before a ball was kicked, as the thunder and lightning came crashing down on the Carey Stadium causing an hour and 15 minute delay to the kick off, and leaving what has been a perfect playing surface this season resembling a puddle filled quagmire. However, the Nor’easter were ready for the storm and ready to put on a show for the fans, which over 400 of them braved the weather and stuck around through the storm. The fans were not to be disappointed as Carmichael started off like a lightening bolt himself. After just 7 minutes of action Carmichael was feed the ball from Johnny Granese and found himself one on one with the Brooklyn goalie, Gabriel Bagot, and showed why he has been the Nor’easters franchise playing by coolly slotting the ball home with aplomb.
Just 4 minutes later Nor’easter Jidell Roach found himself in a similar one on one situation with Bagot, after a Chris Williams through ball. Roach ran on to the pass with speed and finished neatly with a hard low strike to Bagot’s left, to give the Nor’easter a 2-0 lead.
With the crowd on its feet cheering every Ocean City pass and the players sensing there were more goals to be had, the Nor’easters continued to attack. On 27 minutes it was Carmichael’s turn again, rolling back the years. A weak clearance from the Knights defense gave Carmichael a sniff on the edge of the box, and with a trade mark turn he lost his defender and slammed home a left foot shot from 10 yards out to spark more wild celebration as Carmichael ran to the bench and the fans to celebrate what would be his final goal in a Nor’easter jersey.
With the Nor’easter now in complete control the party atmosphere continued and on 36 minutes Carmichael nearly had a first half hat-trick. Young Nor’easter Mitch Grotti, who had replaced Jidell Roach in the 34 the minute, made an immediate impact with a run and shot from the right hand side. The ball had beaten the goalie, but got held up in a puddle and as Carmichael slide in to grab his third, the ball cannoned of the post and out, denying Carmichael.
Half time Nor’easter 3, Knights 0.
The second half saw multiple substitutes for the Nor’easters, giving all the players a chance to play and say thank you to the fans. Tierno came in for Dove at the half, shortly followed by Guzzo for Granese.
Captain Terry Gibbs was the next to make way for Kameron Teel, but not before Gibbs found the back of the net on 50 minutes. Neat play down the right wing saw the ball cut back to the edge of the box where Gibbs was waiting to thrash home a shot. His celebrating saw him dive through the puddles to the delight of his u10 boys Nor’easter youth team, who were in the crowd to watch him play.
Then came the moment the crowd came for as Byron Carmichael was substituted on 70 minutes to a standing ovation. It was a perfect ending to a tremendous career as an Ocean City player. As Carmichael came off he acknowledged to crowd and clapped back in appreciation of their support. But, the entrainment did not stop there, as Carmichael was replaced by none other than coach Neil Holloway to the delight of the fans.
There were no more goals in the game but there was still plenty of action, including a red card for Brooklyn’s Adam Maabdi on 86 minutes.
The final score was 4-0 Nor’easters and it was only fitting the in his last game Carmichael was announced as Man of the Match.
The Nor’easters would like to thank all of the fans throughout the 2011 season and pay tribute to Byron Carmichael and the contribution he has made to the franchise both on and off the field throughout his career.