|South Jersey Soccer:
OC Barons Season Ends in Conference Semifinal
Saturday, July 30, 2005
By Paul O'Donnell
Eastern Conference Semifinals
In a thriller that featured back-and-forth high energy action the Barons season ended on a stoppage time strike from Dominic Oduro. Richmond 5, Barons 4.
The Future duo of Cristian Neagu and Oduro produced dangerous situations from the start with their sublime touches. The opener finally came in the 25th minute off a quick restart after a foul by Chris Williams about 30 yards out, wide left. The quickly taken restart caught the Barons unsettled and Neagu put Oduro in and his strong right footed drive beat the Barons youngster, Nick Talarico for a 1-0 Future lead.
The Barons struck right back when Adam Williamson made a strong run wide left, beat his marker and crossed to Mingo who put Williamson in at the back post. Adam's sharp header beat Dykstra and it was 1-1 in the 26th.
Three minutes later Neil Holloway pushed forward from his own side of the halfway line and given space made his run all the way to the top of the box where he toe poked a pass by his marker finding Williamson out wide left. Williamson's cross put Carmichael in and his strike beat Dykstra and it was 2-1 Barons.
The Future roared back and Talarico produced the save of the night in the 34th when Neagu put Oduro in again. The Future's pressure continued and Oduro found Boateng alone in the box and he made it 2-2 in the 36th.
The Barons responded quickly again in the 38th on a beautiful unassisted move by Williamson who made it 3-2 Barons.
More pressure from the Future resulted in a foul just outside the box. Neagu's free kick deflected off the wall just out of the reach of Talarico high to the right corner making it 3-3 in the 44th.
The 2nd period began with substantive pressure at the Richmond end by the Barons and in the 60th minute Ryan Heins found Carmichael deep in the box wide right but his drive went narrowly wide at the back post.
More Barons pressure resulted in Donatelli finding Carmichael again and he was fouled at the top of the box in the 63rd. Ruben Mingo's well taken free kick found the top corner making it 4-3 Barons.
For the next 20 minutes the Barons handled the Future attack well with Chris Williams making several terrific defensive plays on his mark Oduro stiffling Richmond. The Barons seemed well in control and on their way to the championship match. At the other end the Barons looked likely to widen the advantage but a Carmichael strike went wide and a flick by Donatelli trickled barely wide at the back post. The Barons 5th didn't come even though they looked the more likely to score again during this stretch of the match.
Then in the 85th minute a challenge at the end line just inches outside the box by Richmond looked to have resulted in either a corner or a goal kick. Instead a foul was whistled giving the Future a dangerous free kick from that spot. The low drive into the box and crowd in front of the Barons goal resulted in the ball being deflected in off the back of a Barons player and suddenly the match was tied again at 4-4 with only minutes to go.
Into stoppage time and Richmond produced the match winning move when Neagu put Oduro in yet again and his strong left footed drive found the net and now it was 5-4 Future with only seconds remaining. The Barons used them well and seemed to have produced the match tying move right before the final whistle when the ball lay at the right post off a scramble but Dykstra covered it as time ran out on the Barons season.
The crowd fell silent as the sudden victory for Richmond ended Ocean City's unbeaten run at Carey Field marking the 2nd year in a row the Barons would fall short in the conference playoffs.
The Future move on to the conference championship against a team they know well; the Raleigh CASL Elite on Sunday, July 31.