Goals from Zoncher Dennis, Kouassi N’Guessan, and Amadou Sheriff were enough as the Stars came from behind to defeat FC Monmouth 3-1 on match day 6 of the 2018 NPSL season.
On a sunny late afternoon at the South Philadelphia Super Site, both Junior Lone Star FC and FC Monmouth battled for three points in the NPSL Keystone Conference with both teams coming into this match on very high notes.
The Stars ended their two-game losing streak in the NPSL after coming away from Scranton with a 3-1 win against Electric City Shock last weekend while FC Monmouth were coming off a three-game unbeaten run where they defeated Atlantic City FC 1-0, defeated Hershey FC 2-1, and tied with New Jersey Copa FC 2-2.
The game started with both teams feeling out each other for the first 20 to 25 minutes. There were little clear-cut chances in the beginning stages of the game with both teams being cautious of the attacking threat from the other side.
The fireworks began however in the 29th minute when Mohammed Mayah was adjudged to have fouled FC Monmouth’s striker in the box. Jordan Saling stepped up for the visitors and sent goalkeeper Prince Monyan the wrong way to put his side ahead 1-0.
The goal seemed to awaken the home team who began to connect passes with a little more urgency and intent. The breakthrough came for the Stars in the 37th minute when Zoncher Dennis outmuscled a defender to power a 30-yard thunderbolt at the back of the net for the Stars equalizer before half-time.
After the break, the Stars continued where they left off and they went ahead 2-1 in the 48th minute from a set-piece with N’Guessan powering in a floating back-post header from Yaya Fane’s free kick.
The goal was well-deserved after a period of sustained pressure from the Stars. With a 2-1 lead, the Stars became too relaxed and FC Monmouth began to get a foothold in the match. If not for the heroics of Monyan who made some terrific individual saves, the Stars would have given up the lead on a couple of occasions.
The game seemed to be hanging in the balance until the 81st minute when Sheriff stuck a dagger into the hearts of the Monmouth faithful in the stands. The substitute received a pass from Dennis and then scored an absolute stunner by smashing a 40-yard strike that caught the Monmouth goaltender Scott Weigel off his line to put the Stars 3-1 ahead.
With a two-goal cushion, the Stars saw out the rest of the game playing beautiful soccer with a 3-1 score line. With this win, the Stars improved to a 4W-0D-2L record in the NPSL Keystone Conference where they are now fourth on the table with a playoff spot still up for grabs.
Junior Lone Star assistant coach Thomas George shared his thoughts on the match.
“We knew how important this game was going into it. Monmouth are a very good side with a lot of talented players. So, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we played well even after going a goal down. The guys were able to stay composed and execute the game plan.”
The Stars will travel to fierce rivals West Chester United SC on Wednesday, June 20th for a 7:30 pm kick off. United currently sits second on the Keystone Conference table with 15 points from six matches while the Stars are fourth with 12 points from the same six matches. Both teams met earlier this season with United getting a 2-1 win against the Stars.
Contributor: Neewilli Saie/Junior Lone Star
Photo Credit: Junior Lone Star