Fimic shines on defense, dishes out 2 assists, as Ocean City holds on to second place
The Ocean City Nor’easters returned home to Carey Stadium with a 4-1 win over Jersey Express on Sunday night. This starts a new winning streak for the team as well as the first-ever three-game winning streak over the Express.
At the halfway point of the PDL regular season, the Nor'easters (5-2-0) find themselves in sole position of second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division, three points behind first place New York Red Bulls U23s, who have won all six of their games.
The win was guided by goals from Ignacio Tellechea (UC Santa Barbara / Madrid, Spain), Tyler Collishaw (Davenport / Hull, England), Ismael Noumansana (Lenoir-Rhyne / Bamako, Mali), and Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti)
The man of the match performance came from Nikola Fimic (Oklahoma Wesleyan / Novi Sad, Serbia) who had two assists and twice cleared Jersey scoring chances off the goal line.
“Seemed like every time one of our guys had the ball, they would foul, disrupting the flow in the attacking third,” said Nor'easters head coach John Thompson. “Individually you've got to adapt and move the ball quicker before you get contact and we weren’t doing it. None of the lads were happy at halftime and I told everyone you got to play better as an individual, out-play your opponent and we were much better in the second half.”
Ocean City opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Tellechea scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season when he received a pass from Fimic and slipped it past the Jersey keeper to get the Nor’easters on the board.
The Express tied the game in the 20th minute when Romario Goulart pounced on a rebound and knocked the ball past Nor’easters keeper Todd Morton (Delaware / West Chester, PA) to get the team on the board after a scramble in the box. Morton played well in his third straight start for Ocean City.
Play between the two teams was rough and heavy fouling was conducted by many players. While few cards were issued by the referee, coach Thompson kept his cool and conveyed that approach to his players.
"I've never seen a referee change his mind based on what a coach says,” Thompson stated. “I learned after more than 20 years of coaching to try to keep your players calm so they don’t get any cards unnecessarily.”
Much to the delight of the fans in attendance at the Beach House, the second half saw an explosion of three unanswered goals from the Nor’easters. Collishaw scored in the 64th minute on a penalty kick after Fredinho was fouled in the box, giving them a 2-1 lead.
Ocean City extended its lead when Noumansana, who came on as substitute moments ago, received a pass from Fimich and chipped his shot past an out-of-position Jersey keeper and ran to the Nor’easters bench to celebrate with his teammates.
The final goal came from Fredinho who collected a low pass from Noumansana and slipped it into the Jersey goal for the for the final score and gave Ocean City a convincing 4-1 win.
“We’re looking good, early confidence, and we’ve put ourselves in good position in the table and we got to keep going with the momentum and keep on performing,” stated Thompson.
The team has a short turnaround before they head back out on the road for the first of three straight road games. They will travel to Whitehall, Pa. to face Lehigh Valley United (2-2-1) on Wednesday night, a team they have never lost to in four all-time meetings (4-0-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Whitehall High School.