Ocean City loses late lead, draw 2-2 with Hampton Roads in home opener

Terry Gibbs scores in PDL debut, John Fletcher adds another

Ocean City FC Lineup School / Hometown
GK - Bret Mollon Temple / Washington, MI
DEF - Kevin Strunk Lehigh / Downingtown, PA
DEF - Kevin Curran Loyola / Upper Township, NJ
DEF - Matt Griffin Robert Morris / Bethel Park, PA
DEF - John Fletcher Eckerd College (’08) / Uxbridge, ENG
MID - Daniel Braun Robert Morris / Pittsburgh, PA
MID - Max Hamilton Monmouth / Medford, NJ
MID - Ryan Richter LaSalle / Southampton, PA
MID - William Swetra James Madison (’10) / Egg Harbor, NJ
FWD - Junior Chapman LaSalle / Ocean City, NJ
FWD - Byron Carmichael Marshall (’03) / Lumberton, NJ
Giancarlo Granese Hofstra / Ocean City, NJ
Austin Johnson LaSalle / Avalon, NJ
Alex Weidman Monmouth / Linwood, NJ
Sal Pistone Stockton College / Blackwood, NJ
Terry Gibbs Bloomfield College / London, ENG
Scoring Summary
17th (OCEAN CITY) John Fletcher (Junior Chapman)
71st (OCEAN CITY) Terry Gibbs (Byron Carmichael)
85th (HAMPTON ROADS) Mamdou Kone (Unassisted)
90th (HAMPTON ROADS) Bryan Iotte (Unassisted)

 Game Stats


















Hampton Roads Piranhas
Ocean City Nor’easters
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Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
qualifying standings
The Ocean City Nor’easters began the 2010 PDL season with a disappointing 2-2 draw against the Hampton Roads Piranhas at Carey Stadium. The Nor’easters (0-0-1) were three minutes away from their first-ever win against Hampton Roads, holding a 2-0 lead, but the Piranhas fought back to score two late goals, including a 90th minute equalizer.

Even with a new logo, colors, jerseys and team name, Ocean City kept their tradition of not losing their home opener. The club has not lost a home opener since moving to Ocean City in 2005, and haven’t dropped a home debut since 2003.

The match also doubled as a qualifying match for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, one of the oldest cup competitions in the world that dates back to 1914. The tournament is unique in American sports as it features amateur clubs and top professional teams in a March Madness-style single elimination tournament. Last year, Ocean City reached the third round of the tournament and earned a date with Major League Soccer’s DC United. The first four games of the season act as qualifiers for that tournament and while a draw does not eliminate the Nor’easters from contention, it does force them to win their next three games to have a chance. Last year, OCFC had a draw in their home opener and came back to qualify. With the draw, Hampton Roads (0-1-1) was eliminated from Open Cup contention. [2010 US Open Cup Qualifying: Eastern Conference standings]

Ocean City opened the scoring in the 16th minute when they earned a corner kick. Junior Chapman played a short corner, received the ball back and crossed it to the far post. There, team captain John Fletcher found space and nodded the ball home for the season’s first goal. In 2008, Fletcher’s first season on the boardwalk, he scored the team’s first goal of the season in the home opener against the Ironbound Express. It was his third career PDL goal and Chapman’s first career assist.

They would add to the lead with a transition goal in the 71st minute. Halftime substitute Terry Gibbs found himself on a 2-on-2 break with the Nor’easters’ all-time leading scorer Byron Carmichael. Just as Carmichael broke into the penalty area, he sent a ball across to Gibbs, who scored his first PDL goal in his first PDL appearance. The assist for Carmichael was his 20th career helper, giving him sole possession of first place in the club’s record book, breaking a tie with Ruben Mingo (2003-2006). 

The Nor’easters controlled much of the game, until the last 10 minutes when the Piranhas finally broke through. 

In the 87th minute, Hampton Roads midfielder Harry Gillespie fired a shot on goal, which produced a rebound that the defense was unable to clear and Mamadou Kone was there to pounce on it to cut the lead in half. 

Three minutes later, with the final whistle looming, Brian Lotte would steal a point for his team with a laser shot from 25 yards out that Ocean City goalkeeper Bret Mollon, making his debut for the club, had no chance at. 

"I thought we played a great game tonight," said head coach Neil Holloway. "I just thought that we panicked in the final five minutes of the match. A lot of it probably has to do with inexperience and having not played together yet, but that’s to be expected in the first game."
With three games remaining in Open Cup qualifying, the Ocean City skipper isn’t hitting the panic button.

"I told the guys after the game, ’Don’t worry about it, we had a draw in our first game last year and we qualified, so we can definitely do it again.’"

Mollon made six saves in his first game with the Nor’easters, starting in place of Tunde Ogunbiyi who was unavailable due to school commmitments at Boston College.The draw with Hampton Roads marks the first time in four all-time meetings that OCFC has earned a point against the Piranhas.

Next up for Ocean City, they travel to North Jersey for a match with the undefeated Ironbound Express (3-0-0) on Wednesday, May 19. Kick off is scheduled for 8 p.m. Anything less than a win for the Nor’easters will eliminate them from Open Cup contention. The next home game for the club is next Saturday, May 22 against the Northern Virginia Royals at 7 p.m.

Press of Atlantic City’s coverage of the game
Video highlights from NBC40

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