Philadelphia Lone Star FC

Stars go third in NPSL Keystone Conference

Photo: Paul Konneh

Junior Lone Star FC has moved to third place in the Keystone Conference  after a win over Greater Binghamton FC Thunder and a draw with Hershey FC over the weekend.

In their home opener on Saturday, the Stars defeated GBFC Thunder 4-2 before drawing the second home match of the season 2-2 on Sunday against Hershey FC.

Junior Lone Star FC 4 – 2 GBFC Thunder

The match began with fireworks from the first whistle at kickoff. Fueled by the vivacity of the home crowd, the Stars came out of the blocks with remarkable intensity. The home team’s positive attitude paid off in the 10th minute when winger Zoncher Dennis cut in from the right wing and took a beautifully-placed shot to beat Corey Swartout in goal for the Thunder.

The opening goal seems to have awakened the away team as the Thunder responded instantly on a counterattack when Mike Rood found himself free on goal to score the equalizer in the 12th minute.

By the half-hour mark, the Thunder went ahead when a beautifully-taken free kick by Patrick Thompson had goalkeeper Prince Monyan rooted on his lines as the ball hit the back of the net.

The score would remain 1-2 to the visitors going into the break.

The second half began well for the home team. As the home fans became restless and demanded more from the Stars’ attack, Coach Bobby Ali brought on substitute Tben Donnie. The instant spark provided by Donnie led to the Stars’ equalizer in the 50th minute when he beat his defender on the left side and laid the ball off for Anthony Alison to tap in.

With the score tied at 2-2, the home team was re-energized and began to take control of the match while the players from GBFC became a little tired. This was evident when a through ball from Mohammed Sesay beat the Thunder’s defense to allow Anthony Allison on a breakaway and he made no mistake as he calmly chipped the onrushing goalkeeper for his second goal of the game to give Stars a 3-2 lead in the 67th minute.

At 3-2 and with tired legs, GBFC resorted to playing direct with long balls. This strategy almost paid off of a ball from the wing but Monyan in goal for the Stars made what looked like a routine save.

In the 75th minute, JLSFC’s man of the match Zoncher Dennis buried the match with an absolute stunner from about 20 yards out that took the life out of the visitors. The home team cruised home from thereafter. What looked like a tough matchup for the Stars in the first half ended up looking like a cake-walk at the end. The lack of numbers on the GBFC bench no doubt cost them points.

JLSFC Lineup (3-5-2):
Monyan; Donzo, Fahnboto, Conteh; Ballah (Donnie 56′); Dennis (Mulbah 84′), Kamara, Turay (Cisse 80′), Goodluck (Mayah 78′); Coulibaly (Sesay 36′), Allison (Boway 80′).

0-1 Dennis 10′ (Turay)
2-2 Allison 50′ (Donnie)
3-2 Allison 67′ (Sesay)
4-2 Dennis 75′

Junior Lone Star FC 2 – 2 Hershey FC

On Sunday, the Stars hosted Hershey FC looking to obtain another win at home. In a match delayed 45 minutes due to thunderstorms, the Stars began slowly and that hurt them when the visitors took a surprise lead in the 23rd minute after a quickly-taken free kick by Adam Clay saw the ball hitting the back of the net.

That goal woke up the Stars because two minutes later, they tied the scoreline when Zoncher Dennis scored another absolute stunner from 25-yards to continue his fine run of form in the NPSL.

The score would remain tied at 1-1 going into the break.

The second half saw improvement from the Stars as they began to exert pressure on Hershey FC but they couldn’t find a breakthrough after missing so many goal-scoring chances, including Anthony Allison missing from six-yard after being put through on goal.

However, the Stars took the lead in the 76th minute when a deflected shot from Allison had goalkeeper Dan Jones going the wrong way.

With the game at 2-1, coach Bobby Ali decided to shore up his defense by bringing in a few defensive players but that didn’t work as Hershey FC equalized one minute into injury time from substitute Phillip Cook to deny the Stars another home win.

JLSFC Lineup (3-5-2):
Monyan; Donzo, Conteh, Fahnboto; Donnie (Mayah 84′), Dennis, Kamara, Turay (Sheriff 86′), Sesay; Cisse (Boway 62′), Allison.

1-1 Dennis 12′
2-1 Allison 76′

The Stars are now 3-1-1 (3rd, 10 points) in the Keystone Conference, and 1-1-1 in the Penn Challenge Cup series. The team travels to second-placed New Jersey Copa on Saturday for a 7pm kickoff.

Man of the Match

Zoncher Dennis put in MOTM performances in both matches with his unstoppable speed and skill on the right wing. He led the Stars with three goals and a brilliant display of one-to-one talent over the weekend.

Two of his goals were absolute stunner from 20 yards and 25 yards, respectively. He constantly had joy on the right side of the GBFC and Hershey defenses and made positive plays every time he had the ball.

Dennis currently has four goals and one assist from five matches this season.

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