A brace from Anthony Allison and a goal apiece from Seydou Ba and Aboubakar Coulibaly were enough as the Stars took a giant step to clinching a playoffs spot in the NPSL Keystone Conference with a 4-1 win away to Torch FC.
The Stars went into this match knowing that a win could boost their chances of qualifying for the conference playoffs, but they found themselves behind in the 12th minute with Rigoberto Rojas putting the Torch ahead.
Like most of the games this season, the Stars seem to play better after that goal, but it wasn’t until the 40th minute that they were able to breach the backline of the Torch. A mistake from Torch goalkeeper Logan Whitney, who tried to dally around with the ball, gave Anthony Allison the chance to take it off him and release to Ba, who scored in an open net to tie the game before halftime.
After their lackluster display in the first half, the Stars came into the second half blazing and found themselves in the lead just the 47th minute when Yaya Fane’s corner kick was weakly punched by Whitney in the path of Allison, who scored with a bicycle kick for the 2-1 lead.
Allison would go on to add his second of the game and the Stars’ third in the 58th minute after shrugging off the Torch defender to place the ball between the legs of Whitney. This was Allison’s sixth goal in seven NPSL matches and his ninth goal in nine matches overall this season.
With their 3-1 lead, Junior Lone Star coach Fatoma Turay and his technical staff made series of substitutions and two of those substitutes combined to increase the score to 4-1 in the 78th minute with Nyakeh Kamara sending a through pass in the path of Coulibaly, who made no mistake in putting his name on the score sheet and effectively ending the game.
With the win, the Stars (6-2-0, 18 points) moved up to third place on the Keystone Conference table, tied on points with West Chester United (6-2-0, 18 points) at second based on better goal differential, and only three points behind conference leaders FC Motown (7-0-0, 21 points) who have a game at hand.
With only two games remaining in the regular season (at New Jersey Copa FC on June 30th and vs. Hershey FC on July 8th), the Stars can clinch a playoffs spot with a road win over fourth- place New Jersey Copa (5-2-1, 16 points) on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Lone Star assistant coach Edgar Neewray shared his thoughts after the game.
“I think we started very slow but after conceding, we picked up the tempo and played very well until we got the equalizer right before half-time. We had few words for the boys at half-time, so they started the second half well and we went ahead just two minutes in. After that, we played some very good soccer and were able to add two more goals to seal to win. It’s a good win but we still need to work on how we approach games at the start.”
Contributor: Junior Lone Star FC
Photo Credit: Charles Flowe/Junior Lone Star FC