Northeast Elite Soccer League | 10 June 2018 | South Philadelphia Super Site | Scorers: Bill Walleekendeh 48, Anthony Allison 80, 90; Chris Pannier 74, Mike Scott 88.
A late brace from Anthony Allison was the difference as the Stars defeated Christos FC in a five-goal thriller to open the inaugural Northeast Elite Soccer League (NESL) season at the South Philadelphia Super Site.
Coming off a long and grueling road trip from Scranton, PA for last night’s NPSL match away to Electric City Shock, the Stars showed no sign of tired legs as they opened the inaugural NESL season at home to Maryland’s powerhouse Christos FC at the South Philadelphia Super Site.
Coach Fatoma Turay made only three changes to the squad that travelled to Scranton with Abu Donzo, Amadou Sheriff, and Ebere Goodluck making the match day squad in place of Edgar Garcilazo, Foray Thoronka, and Edward Slueue, respectively.
Despite that, the Stars showed no signs of tired legs as they started brightly against Christos FC who made the two-hour trip from Maryland.
With a creative and industrious midfield trio controlling the pace of the game, the Stars were dominant the entire first half but missed several opportunities to go ahead.
As early as the 5th minute, midfielder Amadou Sheriff had a chance to put the Stars ahead but missed from three yards out. Anthony Allison followed that in the 10th minute when he had a one-on-one with the Christos goalie Brad Benzing that was saved by the latter.
The Stars continued to dominate the game but were still wasteful in front of goal on several occasions while Christos were hanging onto the game and waiting for their opportunity to pounce.
Christos’ opportunity almost came in the 30th minute when the JLSFC goalkeeper Prince Monyan gave away the ball to an awaiting striker. With a little more composure from the striker, Christos would have been a goal up, but the striker skied the ball over the bar and the chance was wasted. Both teams ended the first half scoreless.
After a wasteful first half from both teams, the second half began with a little more intent and conviction from both sides.
It didn’t take too long for the Stars to take the lead in the 48th minute. The breakthrough came when Alvin Dahn hunted down what seemed to be a lost cause. After barely keeping the ball in play and beating his defender, he laid the ball off for Zoncher Dennis who hit the far post. Luckily for the Stars, Bill Walleekendeh was in the right place at the right time to score off the rebound and put the Stars ahead 1-0, the first-ever goal in the history of the NESL.
The goal seemed to awaken Christos as they began to exert more pressure on the Stars who were holding on until the 74th minute conceding the equalizer from a set-piece with Chris Panier lashing onto a loose ball in the box.
The goal invigorated both squads as another three goals were scored in the next 17 minutes of the match.
Six minutes after Christos equalized, the Stars went ahead again after the first of two telepathic connections between Alvin Dahn and Anthony Allison saw the latter through once more on goal with only the goalie to beat and he made no mistake this time dispatching the ball at the back of the net for a 2-1 lead to the Stars in the 80th minute.
With what seemed to be the winning goal, the Stars relaxed a bit to their own detriment as Christos took advantage of a defensive blunder from Aba Zoegar to score the equalizer in the 88th minute after a 30-yard thunderbolt from Mike Scott nearly tore the net and had goalie Monyan rooted on his lines.
This was proving to be an instant NESL classic under the dreary cloudy 68-degree weather!
With just a minute to spare in stoppage time, the Stars rescued what seemed to be a lost opportunity for maximum points!
In what seems like a deja-vu, the second of the two telepathic connections between Alvin Dahn and Anthony Allison happened again to the amazement and jubilation of the entire home crowd!
Dahn slipped through a perfectly weighted through ball that saw Allison at the other end to score his second and the Stars’ third for a 3-2 scoreline. With barely seconds to spare, this proved to be the game winner in this thrilling NESL opener!
STARS LINE UP VS CHRISTOS FC
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Prince Monyan; Abu Donzo, Kouassi N’Guessan, Mohammed Mayah, Aba Zoegar; Amadou Sheriff, Yaya Fane; Nyakeh Kamara, Deron Joe, Kanibah Kutu-Akoi; Anthony Allison (C).
Subs Used: Alvin Dahn, Zoncher Dennis, Ebere Goodluck, Dialee Tyler, Bill Walleekendeh.
Subs Unused: Vincent Tasca, Thaimu Turay.
Goals: Walleekendeh 48, Allison 80, 90.
Booked: Y. Fane 50, Sheriff 60.