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South Jersey Soccer:
Cup Tie Abandoned Due to Thunder Storm
The Gods Smile Down on Syracuse

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

By John Thompson
South Jersey Barons Correspondent

Tuesday night was one of the biggest occasion the South Jersey Barons had experienced since there appearance in the D3 pro league national title game back in 1999. With the prospect of playing the Columbus Crew from the MLS in the Third Round the young Barons players were eager to prove their worth against professional players from Syracuse.

The young guns from the Barons gave as good as they got in a hot tempered game that quickly turned into a nightmare for both sides. Syracuse looked the stronger side early on in the game and took a deserved 1-0 lead on 22 min's after good work down the right wing set up Csaba Kerkekes who scored his second goal in two games for the Salty Dogs.

The Barons were quick to reply four minutes later when Bryon Carmichael burst through the Dogs defense and rounded goalie Byron Foss who tried to recover, instead he brought down Carmichael as he was about to put the ball in an open net. The referee decided it was a professional foul and gave Foss a red card. Syracuse brought on Paul Nagy to replace Foss, Nagy's first job was to face a penalty.

The drama did not end there. Captain Neil Holloway's penalty was brilliantly saved by Nagy who was unlucky to parry the shot straight back to Holloway who could not miss with an open goal in front of him.

With the game tied at 1-1 and Syracuse down to ten men the Barons mood was more upbeat. The fact that they were playing a man up made life easier for them.

The second half was as dramatic, in not more dramatic than the first. Ten minutes into the second half the referee gave a second yellow card to defender Benito Kemble leaving only nine Salty Dogs on the field.

This was a golden opportunity for the Barons to pull off a sensational result, however, the Salty Dogs pulled out the Rabbits foot and within in minutes the players trudged to the dressing room as the clouds in the South Jersey sky darkened giving the referee no choice but to pull both teams off for safety reasons.

After 30 minutes in the dressing rooms awaiting the lightning to cease the referee decided to get the game resolved and both teams returned to the field.

The Barons were desperate to finish the game and take advantage of the numbers up situation. In contrast the Dogs were begging for more lightning strikes as the game would then have to be abandoned and replayed with both teams starting with eleven players.

With this in mind Barons went looking for the winning goal. Despite the majority of possession the Barons could not find a clear opening as the Dogs sat back and soaked up the attacks.

Finally, after several more lightning strikes the referee consulted with his assistant and abandoned the game for safety reasons. Much to the disappointment of the Barons players and fans and to the relief of the Syracuse bench.

Open cup rules state that if the game was not abandoned it is replayed as though it never took place. The game therefore will be replayed in South Jersey within seven days.

©2004 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.