A late strike from Brown University forward Ben Maurey secured the Nor'easters a late point in their 2014 PDL season opener at Long Island. After their US Open Cup exit at the hands of an experienced and hardworking New York Greek Americans side on Wednesday night the team displayed great character and determination right up until the final whistle to ensure they returned to the shore with something to show for their efforts.
The first half was a largely even affair with both sides struggling to take control as the respective defenses were in charge. However, with half-time approaching the Rough Riders began to take charge, with Indiana University product Colin Webb in the Ocean City goal forced into making several impressive saves to keep the scores level. Despite Webb's heroics the Rough Riders' pressure eventually told as striker Glen Reid followed up after yet another impressive Webb save to slot home the rebound and give Long Island a 1-0 lead going into half-time.
At the beginning of the second half the tempo of the game was noticeably quicker, with both teams committing numbers forward and a number of firm challenges earning the attention of referee Robyn Crawford-Smith. This quicker pace suited the Nor'easters and they were soon level as Villanova forward Aaron Dennis was able to get in behind the Rough Riders defense and slot home to tie the game in the 58th minute. With the Nor'easters looking to push forward and build on their goal the Rough Riders were always going to provide a threat on the counter, and so it proved as just seven minutes later they retained the lead from a Jack McVey free kick after Colin Webb was left exposed by a quick counter attack and brought down Long Island's striker 25 yards out.
As the game progressed the Nor'easters sent more and more players forward in search of an equalizer and were almost punished as another Rough Riders free kick cannoned off the crossbar. This would prove to be a pivotal moment in the match as the Nor'easters grabbed a well-deserved equalizer in the 89th minute after a cross from captain Shawn McLaws, who had been moved into midfield by Coach Oswald, was met well by Ben Maurey to ensure the Nor'easters took home the point they deserved from the game.
The Nor'easters will look forward to learning the lessons from this game and putting in an even better performance in two weeks time when Long Island make their way down to Ocean City for the return fixture. You can read more about that game and catch up with all the Nor'easters news on our Facebook and Twitter
Photo Courtesy of USLPDL & Long Island Rough Riders