By Tyler Lewin/Annapolis Blues FC
A crowd of 8,368 saw the Annapolis Blues defeat FC Frederick 4-2 in Mid-Atlantic Conference action. In a picture perfect a 70-degree Saturday night at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the game was filled with attacking action between both sides.
Looking to continue their unbeaten run, the stadium roared with cheers from the crowd at kickoff. However, nine minutes in the Blues were on the back foot. John Eskay found himself in a one on one with Blues goalkeeper Griffin Hemmendinger, sending him the wrong way and slotting it home to the keeper’s left.
In the 30th minute the Blues would equalize via Jacob Murrell. As the ball was played into the feet of Toshi Davis, he lifted a first-time pass to Murrell. The attacker then turned his defender, cut inside to the left, and finished the first-ever Annapolis Blues home game goal, beating FC Frederick goalkeeper Gonzalo Bartoli on his near post. The crowd of over eight thousand erupted in celebration, making their passion and presence known.
Eskay secured his brace in the 48th minute. The ball was crossed in from the left side of the pitch by Ben Weller, finding the feet of Eskay inside the six-yard box. He placed the ball into the top of the net, above the head of Hemmendinger. The Blues would equalize again through Elton de Oliveira Santos in the 72nd minute, off a free kick just outside the box. Stepping up to the kick from the left side of the pitch, Santos hammered his shot which bounced off the wall and beat the FC Frederick goalkeeper who was thrown off by the deflection.
In the 77th minute, second-half substitute Gordon Bernlohr took the lead for the Blues. Murrell slipped the ball through to Bernlohr who slotted the ball low into the bottom corner of the far post, leaving the Jonah Valmonte with no chance. Bernlohr ran to the corner, taking off his shirt and embracing the crowd. As the stadium filled with emotions, all the players ran to the corner, swarming Bernlohr and the fans.
Just a few minutes later the lead was doubled. The two Blues substitutes would connect in the 79th minute with Jackson Ruckman delivering the final punch. Bernlohr’s cross form the left-hand side of the pitch was met with the head of a FC Frederick defender, whose clearance ultimately fell to the feet of Ruckman. The midfielder hammered his shot home into the bottom left corner. With only 11 minutes to go, Blues supporters ramped up their vocality as they urged their team on for the remainder of the match.
The Blues were able to hold off FC Frederick from any major chances for the remainder of the match. Upon the final whistle blowing, the stadium roared as the fans ran to the edge of the seating, waiting for players and coaches to share the experience.
“The numbers we had tonight were just an indication of how big this can be,” Annapolis General Manager Fred Matthes said. “Just amazing, just tremendous support locally. Thank you to Annapolis.”
The Blues are still undefeated on the season and will look to continue their success as they hit the road, taking on Northern Virginia United on June 7th at 7:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Timothy McCarty/NPSL.com