West Lawn, PA – The Ocean City Nor’easters played arguably their most solid match of the season defensively against rival Reading United, but squandered several key scoring chances in each half, leaving them scoreless for the second straight game. The Nor’easter defense fought off wave after wave of Reading attacks early on, highlighted by a clash between Ocean City goal keeper Eric Klenofsky and Reading forward Darius Madison that left the United player in a heap in the 15th minute. Madison would remain in the game, and the Nor’easter back line would hold strong for the remainder of the first half. Ocean City defended calmly for the next ten minutes and counterattacked when the opportunity presented itself, but the Nor’easter forwards could not connect on crosses from the midfield. Reading’s most opportune scoring chance came in the 30th minute when a free kick was headed just wide of frame. Ocean City held possession well in the final fifteen minutes of the half, applying the pressure to a gassed United defense that craved the halftime whistle. What appeared to be a mental error by a Reading defenseman, who clobbered Nor’easter Frank Tweneboa on a breakaway in the 41st minute, was not deemed a foul by the referee, and Reading was just barely able to fend off Ocean City as the clock ticked to 45.
Again, Reading applied the pressure early in the second half, but the Nor’easters back line was well-organized, thwarting the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Division’s most prolific offense for more than 70 mintes. Ocean City forward Leon Brown made his season debut in the 52nd minute for Javoni Simms. Reading forward Nicolas Delgado, minutes after being penalized for a handball, fired a knuckling shot on goal that was deflected by the Nor’easters defense into the hands of Klenofsky in the 58th minute. A minute later, Ocean City midfielder Jidell Roach made his season debut and looked immediately to force the issue on offense. In the 63rd minute, Frank Tweneboa made way for Emmanuel “Gogo” Kollie. Gogo, like Ivory Coast veteran Didier Drogba has in this World Cup, injected the Nor’easter attack with both energy and pace in the remaining minutes of the match. Six minutes after entering the game, Gogo made his presence known, driving a brilliant header just wide of the Reading goal off of a lethal cross from captain Shawn McLaws. Just when the Nor’easters appeared to be on the verge of notching the first goal of the match, Reading United broke through on a goal from Darius Madison in the 73rd minute. Coach Oz responded by inserting center back Ambry Moss into the fray to bolster the Ocean City defense, build from the back, and produce the equalizer. In the 83rd minute, the Nor’easters, on the brink of an epic game-tying goal that might salvage a point on the road, capped a fantastic scoring chance with a shot from captain Shawn McLaws that clattered off the post. In the match’s final minutes, Ocean City battled frantically to tie the game but Reading United held them off for a 1-nil victory.
A great tactical team effort was not quite enough for the Nor’easters to best their bitter rival, Reading United AC, on the road. The Nor’easters fended off Reading’s advances for much of the first and second halves and attacked relentlessly before the halftime and final whistles, but could not find the equalizer. Ocean City look poised to bounce back against the Northern Virginia Royals in front of our home crowd on Sunday night. The match kicks-off at 8pm, giving Nor’easter fans the opportunity to cheer for our country before making your way to Carey Stadium.