NY Greek Americans' Colin Murphy on the ball. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
April 3, 2017
Stephen Roche led a revitalized NY Greek Americans team to a 5-1 victory over Cedar Stars Academy, displaying a breathtaking four-goal performance Sunday night at Metropolitan Oval.
Man of the Match on his Performance: Stephen Roche (4 goals)
NY Greek Americans' Stephen Roche
(in his days with F.C. New York)
Stephen Roche is delighted by his four-goal performance but finds the win in the midst of a playoff run more pleasurable.
"Firstly I'm very happy obviously but more importantly for the team, it was a big game for us because we knew we had to beat them to try to chase them for the playoff spot, so I'm very happy of the team's win," the former League of Ireland player said after the game.
After a rather even start, Cedar broke the deadlock in the 19th minute when Rodriguo Santiago cracked a voluptuous one-time shot from a little over 25 yards out via a poor clearance from an opposing defender. Keeper Bradley Johnson had no chance of getting to the ball as he was off his line.
The visitors' lead only lasted two minutes for Roche scored his first goal nine minutes from the half hour mark, steering Colin Murphy's low-cross to the left corner of the net. Keeper Samuel Grossman made a decent effort to save the shot, diving at full stretch on his left.
Roche gave his side the lead six minutes after the restart, finishing a low-cross from Jimmy Nealis this time.
The converted forward stroke again six minutes later, netting the best collective goal of the night.
After the assistant referee controversially claimed that the ball didn't cross the line when the CSA player thought otherwise; Nealis made a dashing run from midfield, megging Paul Nittoli on his way, then hit a spot on pass to a midfielder, who found Roche on the left wing.
NY Greek Americans' Jimmy Nealis. Photo Dinos Avlonitis
Roche cut inside the box before sending a shot to the far post. The Irishman scored his fourth and last goal of the game 15 minutes from time, blasting a shot to the upper left corner.
The former League of Ireland player made his presence felt again in the game six minutes later as he drew a penalty kick, in which Gabriel Camara was ejected out of the game with a second yellow. Adam Whitehead confidently converted the PK, thundering the ball high to the right corner.
Nittoli received a red card after the game for talking to the referee.
19': Cedar Stars Academy--Rodrigo Santiago [0-1]
21': NY Greek Americans--Stephen Roche (Colin Murphy) [1-1]
49': NY Greek Americans--Stephen Roche (Jimmy Nealis) [2-1]
55': NY Greek Americans--Stephen Roche [3-1]
75': NY Greek Americans--Stephen Roche [4-1]
81': NY Greek Americans--Adam Whitehead (penalty kick) [5-1]
NY Greek Americans players before the game. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
1. Cedar Stars lose ground on the last playoff spot while a "confident" NY Greeks draw three-point closer:
Stephen Roche spoke on his side's desire to make the playoffs: "We're confident that we can do it, this is one of the toughest games we have so I think this prove to the league what we're capable of."
2. Roche's fiery comeback to NY Greeks: The 30-year-old netted six goals in his first two games back with the club after a three-year absence.
3. Comeback players boost up NYGA's to a two-game winning run after a poor Fall season: Roche (4 goals), Shaun Foster and Jimmy Nealis (1 assist) came back to NY Greeks during the break after transferring to Lansdowne Bhoys three years ago. The Greeks also acquired Colin Murphy (1 assist) from Lansdowne.
"We managed to sign two or three great players who came back to the club," head coach Richard Nuttall mentioned when asked about his side's fantastic start of the Spring season. "[..] They're great players, with great players you can do great things."
4. Cedar's struggles and last night's red cards: CSA is now on a three league-game losing streak. To make matter worse for them, they will be without top scorer Paul Nittoli and starting defender Gabriel Camara in their next game as both players were red carded.
NY Greek Americans
Shots (on target %): 16 (50%)
Yellow cards: 1
Cedar Stars Academy
Shots (on target %): 11 (27.2 %)
Yellow cards: 2
Red cards: 2