Retro Night culminates with 1-1 score line
Ocean City and Reading United AC battled back and forth in Friday night’s matchup of Mid-Atlantic division powerhouses to a 1-1 draw, making the playoff push even tighter with one match to go.
Friday, June 11, 2014
Ocean City, NJ – The hometown Ocean City Nor’easters delivered a riveting comeback on Friday night in front of more than 500 fans at America’s Greatest Family Resort. Highlighted by a Retro Night giveaway of Ocean City Barons supporter’s scarves and the induction of one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Nor’easter, PDL, and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup history, Byron Carmichael into the Nor’easters Hall of Fame, fans of both squads were in for a treat.
Reading controlled the game early and possessed the ball effectively, probing for the perfect moment to get behind the Nor’easters back line, a breakthrough that Ocean city defenders simply would not allow. Nor’easter center backs Ambry Moss and Matt Taphorn played with an unmatched cohesiveness and skill to thwart the Reading attack for the entire game. If Moss and Taphorn were the lynchpins of the Ocean City effort, outside backs Mitch Lurie and captain Shawn McLaws were the attacking-minded distributors who sparked every offensive opportunity and tracked back with speed and precision whenever defensive support was needed.
United outshot Ocean City 6-2 in the first half, but only managed two strikes on frame. Nor’easter goalie Borja Angoitia’s punch save in the 11th minute preserved the stalemate until two minutes before the halftime whistle. A smoothly designed flick-on off of a long freemkick from the left sideline in Ocean City’s defensive third sprung United midfielder Gaeton Caltabiano who took a touch past the Nor’easter back line and scored Reading’s lone goal of the match. 1-0 Reading at the half.
The Storm leapt to life in the wide-open second half, dominating United for minutes at a time, doubled their first-half shot total, and earned three corner kicks to just one for Reading. Ambry Moss and Matt Taphorn came up huge a number of times with critical defensive clearances to facilitators McLaws and Lurie who transitioned flawlessly to the counterattack.
In the 67th minute, Ocean city sparkplug Emmanuel “Gogo” Kollie made way for Birnis Adames and the attack was on. The Nor’easters peppered the face of goal with crosses that swung just wide of Ocean City attackers but an equalizer was immanent.
In the 78th minute, Nor’easter midfielder Aaron Dennis switched the field by lofting a pinpoint ball to Zoncher Dennis, five yards from the left sideline. Zoncher took his defender on, made a quick touch inside, and arched a miraculous shot into the upper right corner of the net. Zoncher’s equalizer sent the Nor’easters and their fans into a frenzy that would not relent until the final whistle.
Glenroy “Junior” Chapman entered the fray for Mitch Lurie to bolster the Ocean City back line in the game’s final 10 minutes. In the 82nd minute, midfielder Mitch Grotti, a recent master of late-game heroics, made way for Michele Pataia. Zoncher continued to pepper the goal and Matt Taphorn made two clutch denials of Reading strikers to keep the game tied at 1. In the 88th minute, Paco Navarro came on for assist man Aaron Dennis, experiencing his first action of the season. Paco took a threatening shot with his first touch of the game but Reading’s Alex Bono was there to make his fourth save.
The edge-of-your-seat action ended in a 1-1 draw after what was clearly the Nor’easters best all-around effort of the season. Man of the Match Zoncher Dennis’ wonderstrike leveled the score in dramatic fashion, on an assist from Aaron Dennis, and Ocean City’s impenetrable second-half defensive form secured the draw.
The Nor’easters next, and final regular season match will be Saturday, July 19th at Carey Stadium against the Baltimore Bohemians.