Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. coach Sean Kelly. Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. Images
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery |@onz_11
Dec. 3rd, 2018
They looked shaky in the second half of last season as they lost all of their three league-games against top half clubs, conceding seven goals while scoring none and drew with Zum Schneider F.C., 0-0, who was the last placed team then. But they grinded back and won the CSL and the Manning State Cup.
Again this season, they went through a substandard period, starting their domestic campaign with four straight losses and were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup qualifiers in the first round after getting hammered by NY Pancyprian Freedoms, 4-0.
They grinded back again. They won their last four CSL games, won the Eastern N.Y. Fricker Cup final and reached the Manning State Cup final by beating the amateur club with the most talented roster in New York/New Jersey, Cedar Stars Academy, 2-0.
That Irish club from Yonkers, Lansdowne, will slip and fall three times but before you know it will get up four times.
Jack Doherty and Ovan Oakley were on target in the Bhoys’ 2-0 victory over Cedar Stars on Sunday afternoon in a home-game at Yonkers’ Fleming Field.
Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. striker Ovan Oakley. Picture by David DuPuy
Veteran Bhoy striker Oakley expressed that his side was able to get the best out of CSA’s luscious roster—which is made up of last season’s MVP, six ex-MLSers and four Cosmos B players—because of the championship nature of the club.
“I mean, Cedar stars has a lot of good players but Lansdowne is a championship team,” Oakley said. “85 percent of the team played in the Amateur and Fricker National Cup and won multiple CSL titles so it's nothing special for me. We just go out there and play, it doesn't matter who we play against.”
He later added: “I think it is just the occasion. We all understand the importance of these games so we all have to step up and play our part.”
Lansdowne owns four CSL titles (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018), topping CSA twice in the final, two Manning State Cup silverwares (2017, 2018), two Rapaglia Cups and hoisted the national Fricker Cup and the Amateur Cup in 2017.
Sunday’s game was the second straight cup match between the two powerhouses. The Bhoys also defeated CSA in the first one of their consecutive cup games on Wednesday night, downing them, 2-1, with goals from Harri Hawkins and O’Shane Jenkins. Daniel Cordeiro netted the Stars' solitary goal.
Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. starting XI of their 2-1 win over Cedar Stars Academy in the ENY Fricker Cup final. Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. Images
This win broke Lansdowne’s four-match winless run versus Cedar Stars. Rewinding back to the earlier stages of the season, the Jersey club downed Lansdowne, 4-1, in the Rapaglia Cup, went on to winning the tournament and also edged the Bhoys, 2-1, in the league on Oct. 16th.
This loss capped a six-match losing run to CSL clubs for the Bhoys. It was to say the least, as mentioned, a substandard period for the CSL champions.
Oakley explained the reason behind it.
“We were going through a transition stage and had some new addition to the team so there was no chemistry. The chemistry is there now. It feels good to be able to grind out wins,” the Jamaican said.
Lansdowne’s transition period was partially prompted by the departure of five key players from last season and head coach Austin Friel, who made a move to Cedar Stars on good terms. Jim Kelly and Sean Kelly took over for Friel and as of Dec. 3rd the club added 13 players to their roster after last season.
Lansdowne’s comeback started with a couple of blowout victories versus LISFL side Kosmos in the Manning Cup and Amateur Cup in mid-October and now they’re carrying a 15-game winning run, mounted from last to fifth place in the CSL, won the ENY Fricker Cup and are in the Manning Cup final.
They have a chance to add to their comeback feat but will have to do something that seems impossible: eliminate Cedar Stars out of three cups in three straight games.
As if playing each other isn’t draining enough, Lansdowne will play CSA again on Tuesday at Fleming Field at 8:00 p.m. in the ENY Amateur Cup final.
“I'm sure they [Cedar Stars] will make some adjustments for Tuesday's game,” Oakley said, “but we will focus on us and executing our game-plan. My mindset stays the same for all games. I love to win and there is not a day I go on the field and go through the motion.
“Every game I play to win and that is what I intend to do on Tuesday.”