PALMYRA, Pa. — First State FC’s quest for the club’s first ever win wasn’t going so well inside a half hour on Saturday night in their NPSL Keystone Conference match with Hershey FC.
Hamza Moosvi headed in a cross from Jo Panuccio just 10 minutes into the match at In the Net Sports Complex and made it 2-0 to the home team 13 minutes later when he punched in a giveaway in the back. Hershey had scored just once in their first three matches and found themselves not only holding an early two-goal lead but nearly connecting on a third when a shot hit the crossbar.
The early goals and chances for Hershey served as a wake-up call for the visitors and the flashes they’ve shown early in the season on counter attacks proved to be their weapon of choice as they found their way back with a pair of goals before halftime to tie it up 2-2.
Guilherme Pereira set up Hunter Firment for the first goal in the 31st minute after he collected a ball in the box and passed it off to Firment, who flicked it in past goalkeeper Alex Morgret to make it 2-1. Less than a minute later Assane Ben Fall got behind the back line and chipped a long pass from Hakim Williams over Morgret to stun the home fans and level the score.
First State kept the momentum from their flurry of counter attacking soccer and carried it into the second half but several chances were either kept out by woodwork or denied either by solid goalkeeping from Morgret or a timely challenge from center backs Wesley Ramirez and Connor Gniewek.
Saul Robles created the chance that would prove to be the difference when he dispossessed Harry Kershaw in his own end and then played a perfectly weighted ball ahead for Pereira to run onto, outmuscle his defender and place past Morgret for the go ahead strike. Morgret only minutes earlier had denied Perereira’s bid for the go ahead goal with a lovely save to knock his shot over the bar.
“We’ve been pressing hard and for the last games we were playing better but in the last moments we were missing the goals,” Pereira said after the match. “Saul gave me a beautiful ball and I was able to get the finish. We needed this win today.”
With the win, The Midnight Riders improved to 1-4-0 on the season while doubling their scoring output on the season.
“It’s a big one for us,” head coach Abdul Alhassan-Chibsah said. “If you go back and look at the games we played in just like you saw tonight it included tons of chances, I thought we could have had more than three goals. We haven’t put away chances and on the flipside we’ve let up some silly goals. I think it was just good to get this first one and hopefully it can give us some momentum going into our next run of games.”
Hershey fell to 0-4-0 and are in last place in the Keystone Conference despite having a strong performance in an end-to-end game that had very few moments of calm.
“I think we went up 2-0 and we got a little comfortable and we let them back into the game with that one goal, gave them some energy to get two and from there we just panicked a bit and they came out with more urgency because they had that confidence after the second goal,” assistant coach Colby Brown said. “It was a very exciting game and I’m so proud of the boys, they’ve come a long way in the three weeks we’ve been together.”