GL NPSL Falls in Home Opener to Elm City Express
On May 7th, during intermittent rain showers, GL NPSL and Elm City Express opened up their seasons in Tyngsboro, MA. Each team set their tone early. Elm City’s direct style of play provided them with many chances, however, those chances where well dealt with by Lowell’s strong defensive core.
Elm City was able to break through early on a breakaway. The attacker broke free into the box where the Lowell goalkeeper came out and took him down, the referee pointed to the spot and a penalty was awarded. The Elm City attacker lined up the kick, struck the ball and missed wide right, leaving the score tied at 0-0.
Elm City continued to attack for the rest of the half, earning five corners and utilizing their long throw whenever possible, overall attempting six shots. This is in comparison to Lowell’s one corner earned and one attempted shot, which sailed well over the goal.
Despite Elm City’s relentless direct attack, GL NPSL was able to keep the score level at halftime thanks to a strong defensive performance.
An early Lowell turnover led to Elm City’s first opportunity of the second half. Anthony Asante, who struck the ball right at the Lowell goalkeeper, Cooper Hall, who was able to make the save.
Moments later Asante found himself running onto goal again. He made a defender miss, but again the Lowell goalkeeper was up to the task coming off of his line to make the save, which was then put out for a corner kick.
Lowell was able to create a few chances as well. The first coming from Quincy Appah who took on a defender and took a shot from just outside the box which just missed the goal sailing over the crossbar. Another came from Alexnder Alleyne, a free kick whipped into the box and claimed by Elm City goalkeeper Matt Jones.
Appah again was able to beat a defender, take a touch into the box and get a shot off, this time striking it right into the arms of the Elm City goalkeeper.
Lowell came out in the second half slightly more offensive-minded and was able to create more chances. However, all of their work was undone with the blow of a whistle. In the 84th minute an Elm City attacker took a shot that struck the arm of Lowell defender Doug Searl inside of the box. The official pointed to the spot and awarded another penalty to Elm City. This time Asante took the opportunity to put it away, giving Elm City a 1-0 lead.
In the 86th minute Asante struck again as Lowell committed numbers forward trying to equalize in the few minutes left in the game. Shaquille Sanchez broke free and found Asante inside the box, who slotted the ball home to give Elm City a 2-0 lead and that is how the game would end.