For the first time for a long time the weather seemed to let the Nor’easters down as the fog rolled in off the Atlantic Ocean on Friday night to block out the glorious sunshine, but it did ease the suffocating heat.
The first good chance fell to the Rangers, on 14 minutes, asthe Nor’easters backline was robbed of the ball only for Patrick O’Neil to throw himself in front and block a certain goal. However, an immediate Nor’easter reply piled on the pressure after a swift counter attack saw Zoncher Dennis have his shot inside the 6 yard box deflected wide.
A hard shot from Rangers number 7, Rasoillo, saw John McCarthy called into action for the first time.
The breakthrough for the Nor’easters came on the 23rd minute as Jason Plumhoff’s corner found the head of Dennis unmarked on the edge of the 6 yard area to score. Plumhoff’s corners have been deadly all season creating plenty of goals for Ocean City.
The second goal came courtesy of club captain Terry Gibbs playing an outrageous 40 yard half volley pass into the path of Markhus Lacroix who drove from out on the right into the penalty area. Lacroix had his shot saved only to fall into the path of our predatory striker Zoncher Dennis who headed it home. That goal put Dennis at 5 games against New Jersey Rangers in 2012.
The half finished with pinball in the Nor’easters penalty area as the Rangers pushed for a goal. The half finished 2-0 to the Nor’easters.
Half time saw the return of the third annual Nor’easters Mascot Race. The race saw some of the best mascots in the south Jersey region. Prune Dude from the Fractured Prune, SuperCan from ACUA, Wonder Bear from Gillian’s Wonderland, Mr Taffy from Shrivers Taffy and our very own Bobby the Storm Chaser amongst others from Air Circus, Pirates R’ Us and the City of Ocean City. See if you can spot your favorite!!
A swerving free kick from Plumhoff 10 minutes into the second half energized the crowd again. It was well saved by the Rangers keeper, Killian. The game slowed down in the second half as the Nor’easters condensed the play and a slew of substitutions meant the new players had to take time to get in to the game.
A quick counter attack saw Rangers number 15, Dave Cornwell beat Wells and finish coolly past goalkeeper John McCarthy. The goal made it 2-1 and forced Ocean City to step back into top gear. Oswald immediately turned to the bench and bought on Alec Golini and Blake Fink for Terry Gibbs and Jason Plumhoff. The New Jersey Rangers pushed forward and dominated possession but the Nor’easters pace up front always left them open for a counter attack.
The game finished wide open with Lacroix going close before coming off injured. Chances at both end kept it nerve racking to the end but the Nor’easters ended up with the win.
Coach Oswald took a slight sigh of relief and spoke to us, “This wasn’t one of the best games we have played, it certainly wasn’t pretty at times but we grinded it out, showed that we have the guts to go with the skills, and got the 3 points at home for our fans”
MVP and goal scorer Zoncher Dennis took time out after the game to recap his performance “It was a nice game, real hot. My first goal was easy, I just made the run into the area and luckily I was left alone in front of goal and headed it in”.
Dennis continued “For the second goal I knew that Duke’s (Lacroix) shot would be rebounded by the goalkeeper so I just waited and headed it in as it bounced up to me”.
Ocean City Nor’easters – McCarthy (GK), O’Neil, Bibbs, Wells, Curran, Hamilton, Lacroix, Gibbs, Plumhoff, Tweneboa, Dennis
Substitutes: Miller (GK), Davis, Fink, Golini, Weidman, Tassano, Reddick
New Jersey Rangers – Killian (GK), Cunha, Brito, Chimanda, Gorskie, Rasoillo, Zachary, Zalowski, Vest-Hansen, McVey, Malijani
Substitutes: Cornwell, Moore, Santos, Diestze, Zachary
MVP – Zoncher Dennis
Attendance – 792