Barons drop rain-soaked match against Brooklyn

Banks, Carmichael both break record for career minutes played

In their first game played away from Carey Stadium since the club moved to Ocean City in 2005, the Ocean City Barons were defeated by the Brooklyn Knights on Saturday evening 2-1 at the Tennessee Avenue Soccer Complex. Kyle Miller (Holy Cross / Woodbury, NJ) scored the lone goal for the Barons in the second half, but Brooklyn answered with a pair of goals to hand the Barons their second defeat of the campaign.

With the loss, the Barons fall to 5-2-1 in league play, creating a tight race in the race for third place in the Northeast Division. The top three teams in the division qualify for the playoffs and Ocean City’s 16 points puts them in sole possession of that number three spot, but the Brooklyn Knights (4-3-3) and the Newark Ironbound Express (5-7-0) are just one point behind in fourth place.

Despite the loss, a milestone was reached that night as Byron Carmichael (Marshall / Lumberton, NJ) and Joe Banks (Drexel / Sicklerville, NJ) both broke the Barons’ club record for minutes played in a career. Carmichael came off the bench and played 30 minutes while Banks played the full 90 to leave the two in a tie with 5,663 minutes played. The two passed former PDL Defender of the Year and current assistant coach John Thompson’s previous record of 5,650.

The club competed against the Knights, but also encountered terrible weather conditions and, according to Barons head coach Neil Holloway, poor refereeing throughout the game.

“I thought the referee was very weak and missed some dangerous challenges from both teams. Things could have gotten out of control,” he reported.

Right from the start this game was a battle. Both goaltenders were tested throughout first half, but managed to keep the match scoreless for the first 45 minutes.

Neal Melchionni (Lehigh / Marmora, NJ) made his contributions all over the field, fighting for possession and setting up several attempts to put the ball in the back of the net from his crosses.

After halftime, the battle resumed at the sound of the whistle. The pace of the game intensified, and there was a sea of red around the ball at all times. In the first minute Kyle Miller (pictured right) crossed the ball to Ryan Richter (LaSalle / Southampton, PA) in what looked like it could be the first goal of the game, but the Barons’ leading goalscorer was unable to connect.

It was not long before another play formed with these players. Richter and Leon Brown (Wheeling Jesuit / Sicklerville, NJ) had a give-and-go around half-field. The ball moved quickly up the right side before Brown switched fields to Miller who was running into the box. Miller slid the ball easily past the Brooklyn goaltender Chris Antonino.

“We did not play very well in first half and it seemed as though we had a bit of a hangover from our efforts in the Open Cup," said Holloway. "We made some changes at half time, looked better, and got the go-ahead goal. However, Brooklyn stayed in the game and stole it at the end.”

The Barons put themselves on the scoreboard first, but may have then fallen back on their heels. Less than two minutes later, the ball was crossed to the left-hand side by Tarik Smith who found Steve Nyarady in the box who headed it into the net to tie the game at 1-1 with 35 minutes to play.

Ocean City had an opportunity to regain the lead when a handball penalty was called on the Brooklyn goalkeeper after sliding outside the box to gain possession of a loose ball. Melchionni kicked the ball inside to teammates, but the Barons were unable to find the back of the net.

Brooklyn pulled ahead for the 2-1 lead in the 73rd minute after Gennaro Ferrante received a pass from Smith and Ferrante fired a ball over a diving Tunde Ogunbyi (Boston College / Gwynedd, PA) into the upper right hand corner of the net. Ogunbiyi made three saves in the match and even with the two goals allowed, remains with an impressive 0.67 goals against average.

The rest of the match was filled with attempts for the Barons and Knights but neither would improve the score.

“We will re-group and be ready for another tough PDL game this coming Tuesday in Long Island," said Holloway about what’s next for the club. "The players have to forget about [the June 30th U.S. Open Cup game against] D.C. United and concentrate on these next few PDL games.”

The next match for the Barons against the Rough Riders is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at St. Anthony’s High School in Melville, New York.

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