Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Defeats Hershey FC 1-0

By Benjamin Shirk/Hershey FC

Hershey FC has had a slow start to the season, dropping the first two games, 3-0 against West Chester United SC and 1-0 versus Pennsylvania Classics. 

After coming off a good season last year, Hershey had high expectations for the 2024 campaign. 

Hershey would face a formidable opponent, the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, on Wednesday, May 22. 

It was a hot and humid night, and both teams knew it was going to be a fight.  The game started off strong for Hershey FC.  They controlled the game right from the start and gave the Ukrainians no room to breathe.  Hershey was able to put together a few shots during this time, but was unable to find the back of the net.  

Hershey wasn’t going to let up though, and they kept pressing and moving the ball.  Hershey forced the Ukrainian Nationals to make a few early changes in the first half.  After the changes from Philadelphia, the game became much more even.  The first half ended in a 0-0 with both teams having a few more chances, but nothing that the goalkeepers couldn’t handle. 

The start of the second was more of the same.  It was a chess match with neither team giving up any good chances.  Ukrainian Nationals were finally able to break through in the 62nd minute with a goal coming from Beckett Wenger. 

The Ukrainian Nationals tried to play a ball in, and Hershey forced the ball back to the middle where Hershey’s Owen Clark made a play but the ball bounced right to Wenger’s right foot.  Wenger hit a beautiful ball into the top right corner, giving Philadelphia the 1-0 lead and the game’s only goal. 

It was a tough way to concede a goal in this hard-fought game.  Again, Hershey didn’t let up, and they did have a few more chances while the game started to get a little chippy. 

The first half had just two yellow cards: one for Hershey’s Quinn Murphy and one for Philadelphia’s Joseph Lodise.  There were quite a few more yellow cards after the goal.  Hershey’s Serigne Cisse, Aaron Weitzel, and Bolling Shirk each received one, while Ukrainian Nationals’ Christian Combs picked up one of his own.  

Just before the end of the game Hershey was awarded a free kick around the midfield.  Hershey’s Bo Shirk took the kick and dropped a dangerous ball right about the penalty spot where Hershey’s Abass Ndiaye went up for a header.  Unfortunately, Ndiaye wasn’t able to get it down on goal, and the Ukrainians Nationals were able to extinguish this chance for Hershey.  The game ended soon after with the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals taking the win 1-0 over Hershey FC

“Some positives to take from tonight, looked more solid defensively, we are seeing signs of improvement, we have to find consistency and finish our chances,” Hershey FC coach Tom Mellor said. 

It has been a hard start to the season for Hershey, but it’s clear that some players are stepping up. Hershey is still looking for a few players to take over the attacking side of the game and when that happens, their season will surely turn around. 

Photo Credit: Julia Shirk/Hershey FC


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