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NPSL Update: Atlantic City earns controversial draw; Hershey FC drops first two matches

Atlantic City has four points from their first two road matches

Matt Ralph

Atlantic City FC escaped with a 2-2 draw last Saturday against FC Motown after a dramatic and controversial finish to the match. The Aces found themselves trailing for the first and second time of the 2021 campaign but managed to stay unbeaten in stoppage time at Montclair State University.

Michael Bello’s first half goal had FC Motown leading at the half, although the advantage didn’t last long after that. Atlantic City’s Niklas Laenger restored parity in the 48th minute with a towering header from a corner kick.

With the game looking destined to finish 1-1, drama ensued in stoppage time. FC Motown goal scorer Bello received the ball in the box and was taken down as he tried to turn on the Atlantic City defender. Despite the protests from the purple shirts, the penalty was given, which Bello fired past Marvyn Dorchin’s outstretched arms for what looked to be a sure-fire game winner.

However, Atlantic City FC showed their resiliency and were rewarded, albeit controversially.

The Aces earned a set piece near half field in the 95th minute, and sent everyone forward, including Dorchin. While the goalkeeper didn’t produce an Allisson-like moment, the ball still found its way into the net.

The assistant referee had his flag up and postponed Atlantic City FC’s celebrations. However, the referee in the middle waved away the offside call, pronouncing the play a goal with very limited dialogue. The Aces celebrated mightily and are now unbeaten through two games after beating First State FC in the first week, with both matches played on the road.

Atlantic City FC will play at Egg Harbor Township High School for the first time in 2021 on Saturday, May 22 against a struggling Hershey FC. Hershey FC has lost their first two matches by a combined score of 7-1 and sit at the bottom of the Keystone Conference standings.

Elsewhere in the Keystone Conference, West Chester United won their first game of the new season 3-1 over Hershey FC and will host First State FC on Saturday. First State FC visits FC Motown tonight at Drew University.

Torch FC is the only team from the conference to have not touched the field yet, but they will get their season underway on Sunday by hosting Electric City Shock.

Over in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, Philadelphia Lone Star leads the division after beginning the campaign with a tight draw and 1-0 victory, both on the road at Virginia Beach City FC. They will head back to Northeast Philadelphia this weekend to face Northern Virginia United on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Ramp Playground.