Photo: courtesy of Ocean City Nor’easters
Just days after heavy tropical weather blew across the Jersey Shore, another storm dominated Sunday night as the Ocean City Nor’easters defeated the travel-weary Bermuda Hogges 4-0. The win at Fenton Carey Stadium upped Ocean City’s record to 10-2-0 to keep them in first place in the USL PDL Mid-Atlantic Division.
The game opened with both sides about equal on possession, with the Hogges showing life on the counter attack. Bermuda’s rangy forward Lashun Dill was the focal point of most the runs into the Nor’easter’s end.
After the 15th minute, Ocean City’s attack came alive as the midfield tightened up and cut off the Hogges’ runs. Bermuda goalkeeper Tahj Bell was called up to make two great reaction saves on Markhus LaCroix and Emmanuel Kollie in the 25th minute. The only offense Bermuda could muster was off the counter, making quick runs after missed Nor’easter chances.
The breakthrough finally came for the home side in the 32nd minute with a streaking Dennis Zonacher putting away a strong cross from Frank Tweneboa to giveOcean City the 1-0 lead. There was really no looking back for Nor’easters as they began to fully assert their ownership of the game.
In the 35 minute, Tweneboa again sent a low cross in front of goal, but no Ocean City player could connect. Goalkeeper Bell stood tall in net for Bermuda, almost single handedly fighting off each Nor’easter attack.
But it was a Bell blunder that lead to the next goal. Just a minute after thunderously punching a free kick away, Bell mishandled a ball that dropped to Man of the Match defender Tapiwa Machingauta, who gave the home side a 2-0 advantage going into the half.
The second half was more of the same, with Ocean City having more jump off the ball and more of a desire to attack. The heavy legs of the Hogges meant the visitors were sliding deeper and deeper into their own half, offering very little going forward, and more goals were on the way for the home side.
Midfielder Jason Plumoff put away an excellent cross from hometown hero Kevin Curran to extend a insurmountable lead to 3-0.
The scoring didn’t stop there. Second half sub Terry Gibbs lashed a freekick from 20 yards out in the 70th minute to give the home side a commanding 4-0.
With the match seemingly settled, things then kicked off a bit. In the 78th minute Hogges defender Damon Ming kicked a ball at OC midfielder Junior Chapman after a whistle for a foul. Chapman, in what Nor’eater coach Tim Oswald later called a “poor decision,” took exception and went after Ming and had to be restrained. Chapman saw a straight red for the infraction while Ming went into the book with a yellow. A ten man Ocean City was able to see out the victory.
Coach Oswald said after the game, “Twelve games into the season, we’re happy where we stand. When we went out and decided to get the guys we got—young athletic guys that are dynamic, creative, with good pace—obviously the kids are doing a great job this year so far.”
Ocean City High School product Kevin Curran talked about the mental strength of the team. “Even on bad days we are finding ways to win and once we start coming together with four or five more games we’ll just try and keep on winning, stay on the top of the table, and bring it into the playoffs.”
Ocean City has two home games coming up with intrastate rivals Jersey Rangers on July 6th and Westchester Flames on the 8th.