Ben Maurey and Gogo Kollie scored on each side of halftime to lead West Chester United to a 2-0 victory over Junior Lone Star FC while also capturing the inaugural Kildare’s Cup on Wednesday night in Drexel Hill.
The 2-0 win followed a 3-1 win for the Keystone Conference newcomers on week one of the season and settled the Route 3 Derby for the first time in the National Premier Soccer League era.
Needing goals to gain ground in the cup contest and in league standings, Junior Lone Star started off on the front foot, but couldn’t convert a pair of early chances that opened the door for West Chester United to take a 1-0 lead into the break when Philadelphia Union Academy grad Matt Greer crossed the ball into Ben Maurey, who headed home his third goal of the season in the 43rd minute.
Substitute Gogo Kollie - and a formation switch from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 - helped keep the momentum going after the break for the visitors and it was Kollie who beat his man in the box to deliver the dagger in the 82nd minute.
“I just knew it was going to come to me,” Kollie said of his second goal of the season. “I knew I had a mismatch on the guy who was standing next to me.”
Pushing for a breakthrough late with fresh legs off the bench - including Mitchell Torh, Joe Joe Jappah and Sidiki Cisse - the Stars were able to use their athleticism and high pressure to create a couple more tantalizing chances that either missed the mark or were cleaned up by West Chester goalkeeper Will Smith.
“It hurts when you lose a game but it hurts even more when you lose to a rival at home,” Stars head coach Neewilli Saie said after the game. “They came and took a photo on my field. To me it doesn’t get any more motivating than seeing them celebrate with the Kildare’s Cup. We’ll let it reside with them this year, next year it will come to us.”
With the loss, Junior Lone Star fell to 1-3-0 on the season while West Chester United remain unbeaten in their inaugural NPSL campaign at 4-0-1. Anthony Allison’s penalty kick for the Stars in their first meeting is still the only goal conceded by West Chester through 450 minutes. Christian Williams and Jordan Logan anchored the back line on Wednesday night, helping Smith record his first solo clean sheet of the season.
The cup trophy was presented to West Chester United by Kildare’s West Chester co-owner Dane Gray after the match at Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School.
“It’s a great result because it’s an away game, our first away game this season, and this isn’t an easy place to play,” assistant coach Sal Saladino said after the match.
Kollie was happy to celebrate the hardware but like Saladino and head coach Blaise Santangello was already looking ahead minutes after posing for a team photo with the cup.
“This is not our highest achievement,” Kollie said. “It’s just the beginning. We just have to stay humble and not get complacent.”