The New School vs. The King’s College
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Randall’s Island, NY: The New School Narwhals (0-1-0) opened their season against sturdy opposition in The King’s College (0-1-1) on Saturday, September 3. In slightly overcast conditions and a flawless synthetic playing surface, it was perfect for a game of soccer.
The opening moments of the game saw TKC with possession of the ball for the most part, but lacking in creativity in the final third. After 10 minutes, the Narwhals came into the game and marked their authority with crisp passing and smooth interplay in the midfield areas. Daniel Mullins found open spaces on the right hand side of the field on numerous occasions, providing dangerous crosses. Unfortunately, no Narwhals were able to capitalize on the decent service.
TKC were on the back foot, although later in the first half they created a bit of magic down the left side of the field, nutmegging the Narwhal center-back and arrowing a shot to the far upper corner. Chris Crews in net was equal to it as he parried high and wide, registering his first of 11 saves in the game. The half drew to a close with the score at 0-0, the Narwhals shading on the possession statistics.
The second half opened up within the first 10 minutes with the Narwhals continuing to have decent possession and getting into dangerous areas. A decent attack led to a loose ball bouncing just outside the 18-yard area. Zafar Mirzaliev, having been moved into a central role for the second half, struck a sweet first time volley into the bottom right hand corner of the net. The Narwhals were in the lead and deservedly so.
The next 20 minutes were more or less played in the middle of the park with neither team making any strides beyond what they had already. The Narwhals were comfortable with the ball and TKC were threatening very little, bar a few half chance shots ending up in the hands of the Narwhal stopper. The game was getting a little chippy with fouls being called on both sides. In the 79th minute, things changed when Daniel Mullins entered the referee’s book with a late tackle on the opposition’s left back. A minute later Mullins was carded for a second time, leading to a red card on debut. Feeling aggrieved the Narwhals demanded explanation for the decision, leading to a second yellow card brandished to Dardan Bekaj, formerly booked in the 38th minute. A second red card in the same play. The New School were playing with nine men against 11 with 10 minutes to play. TKC took the attack to the Narwhals with plenty of width and drive. It only took four minutes with the two-man advantage for TKC to score their first goal of the match. Josia Simmons, arguably TKC’s best play through the game, picked the ball up with 30 yards to goal, he skipped past TNS midfielder Adrian Simental and produced a marvelous goal into the top left hand corner. 1-1 with six minutes to play. The full time whistle came after some dogged defending by the Narwhals, batting back every attack through a mixed of blocks, saves, and clearances.
OT was shortened to 5 minutes each half as the field reservation drew to a close. The first half of OT was played as expected, TKC dominating possession in the half of The New School. However, they failed to register a shot on target. In the second half of OT there looked like hope for the Narwharls to take a point from the game. Continuous defending led to a surprise attack by the Narwhals. Left Midfielder Wayne Wapeemukwa sped down the wing dribbling the ball. He looked to break into the TKC box, but was tackled in the last instant. Wapeemukwa, retaliated with some shoving, leading to the Narwhals 3rd red card of the game. 11 vs. 8 for the last 3 minutes. The Narwhals managed to hold on for the final whistle opening the season with a 1-1 tie.
Next up for the Narwhals is an away game against College of Mount Saint Vincent (0-1-1) in the Bronx on Saturday, September 10, 2016.