By Olin Gay, First State FC
First State FC played toe-to-toe with the FC Motown Celtics for the first 45 minutes, but a penalty and a late belter saw the visitors take home all three points at Wilmington University. The Midnight Riders played a tough, mainly defensive first half and withstood plenty of pressure from the Motown attack but failed to get any points from this game and remained winless on the season. First State FC will play five of their last six games on the road with the only home matchup against Jackson Lions SC next week.
The afternoon kicked off with perfect weather in Newark, and the first 15 minutes were mostly played in the First State FC half. The home team rode their luck a bit with FC Motown lifting a wide-open shot in the middle of the box over the bar and bouncing another shot off the crossbar.
After this spell, First State got possession and pushed down the right wing, sending a through ball in towards the Motown goal. The move ended with the FC Motown goalkeeper down for an extended period after colliding with the First State attacker; he recovered and played on. This break allowed Motown to regroup, and they put together two more aggressive attacks. The first was a low cross that went by everyone including First State’s Caelin Campbell in goal, and the second was a curling shot from the edge of the box that Campbell parried wide.
Then the Midnight Riders came back into the game, getting several crosses into the FC Motown box. Yohan Kim took a quick shot in the 35th minute that deflected off a Motown defender; the ball looped over and reached the head of Hakim Williams in the box, and after a challenge from the defender, both players went down. The referee gave Motown a free kick. Motown responded down at the other end, with their striker Joseph Fala connecting with a cross right at the six-yard box but sending it straight at the goalkeeper. With one more chance for FC Motown before the half, First State needed to come out strong in the second half to keep the game tied.
The second half began well for First State FC, with a handful of free kick opportunities and a slowed tempo. But the deadlock was finally broken in the 63rd minute, when FC Motown’s Rodrigo Rocca took possession in the penalty box, tried to dribble past two First State defenders, and went down under a challenge. The penalty was given, and Fala converted to give Motown the lead 1-0. Even with the deficit, First State fought hard throughout the remainder of the half to get back to level terms; set pieces were plentiful but didn’t yield any goals. The Celtics created superior chances late in the game, and when a cross from wide on the left fell to William Mensah in the penalty area, he took a touch and shot hard into the corner to give FC Motown their second goal. His finish in the 89th minute sealed the 2-0 scoreline.
After the game, First State FC’s GM David Holloway said that “there’s no shame in losing to the national champions, but giving up a late penalty kick was a tough pill to swallow.” On the teams missed chances, he said “we needed to capitalize on the periods where we had the momentum, and it just wasn’t there for us today.”
First State FC is sponsored by local Delaware businesses Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists (DOS), IncNow, Gonser and Gonser Law, Elite PT, and Wilmington Brew Works. The Midnight Riders have their final home game of the season on June 13th against Jackson Lions SC. Tickets for the game are available at tickets.firststatefc.com.
Photo Credit: Type One Photography