By Chris Dailey/FC Monmouth
FC Monmouth played host to Keystone East Conference rivals Atlantic City FC in a fierce 90-minute match that included just about everything and anything.
From an outside-the-box volley to a straight red card to a rainbow over the pitch, the two sides battled hard in a back-and-forth game that entertained that home crowd.
Atlantic City’s Thomas Mollis opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he slipped a ball past FC Monmouth goalkeeper Dawid Mroz. However, Atlantic City’s momentum was short-lived as Atlantic City FC’s Joao Brum received a straight red card a minute later for verbal harassment to the referee.
FC Monmouth capitalized on being a man up when Rhys Cotter delivered a cheeky chip over Michel Paul Weber to level the scoreline for the Blue and Gold in the 37th minute.
Monmouth then followed up with a goal in the 57th minute. However, their comeback effort was short-lived as former New Jersey Shore Conference Player of the Year Kevin Kiernan hit a wonderfully taken volley to tie the game in the 81st minute, resulting in both teams taking one point away from the match.
Kiernan’s goal was deflating for the FC Monmouth players and staff who all were aiming to take home three points.
“I was happy for it to go in, my first goal, and I thought the effort was good but it’s just a game of football, we needed to win and didn’t,” Cotter said.
FC Monmouth head coach John Killick followed up on Cotter’s statements.
“We were a little unlucky, had a couple of chances late on to win the game,” Killick said. “I thought we played okay, played better before. A little bit of luck and we take that one.”
FC Monmouth’s Mason Martelloni was the standout player of the game.
Martelloni, who has been in superb form all season after coming off of an NJAC winning year with Rowan, moved from center back to center defensive midfield as FC Monmouth looked to shift to more attack-focused tactics following Brum’s red card.
Martelloni delivered the assist to Rhys Cotter and was involved in the buildup for the second goal. Martelloni will hopefully be re-joined by FC Monmouth’s star players, Conor Kelly and Davi Caputo, when the Blue and Gold travel to Montclair State Soccer Park to take on FC Motown next week. All three players are vital pieces to FC Monmouth’s gameplan, and unfortunately, Kelly and Caputo were both absent in the match against Atlantic City.
Meanwhile, Cotter and John Troiano will both look to continue their fine form, and Tyler Hutchinson will provide his much-needed pace as FC Monmouth looks for a historic upset against FC Motown off the back of their draw against Atlantic City.
Cotter is looking forward to the upcoming match against the reigning national champions.
“We’re trying to stay positive and keep on doing what we’ve done all season and improving on the stuff we’ve not done as bad, but obviously we are going to try to win,” Cotter concluded.
Photo Credit: Mike Langish