WALDWICK, N.J. – Hakoah's ordinarily high-powered attack was stymied by a poor surface and superb goalkeeping as the sky blues fell to Waldwick SC at Traphagen School on Sunday. Despite a multitude of chances for Hakoah, Waldwick got all the scoring it needed when a member of the home side rose to head home a throw-in in the 15th minute. An easy tap-in off a goalkeeping error in the 87th sealed the deal, as Waldwick avenged a 4-1 defeat at University Stadium last fall.
Waldwick settled into the game more rapidly, as Hakoah took time to adjust its possession-oriented game to the sloped and bumpy playing field. The home team was knocking on the door even before its 15th minute breakthrough, flashing a header wide of the post in the 12th minute off a throw-in, and hitting the post after an unconvincing clearance in the 14th.
The early goal seemed to shake Hakoah out of its slumber, and slowly the visitors began to gain possession and generate scoring chances. In the 31st minute, Eyal Yechezkell got forward and struck a shot that found its way into the hands of the Waldwick keeper. The goalkeeper passed another test in the 40th minute, as late arrival Jonah Silk got around his man and fired a low shot that was corralled at the near post. The last chance of the half belonged to the home team, though, as once again the post denied a clear scoring opportunity.
The sky blues did not lack resolve in the second half. It was the finishing touch and perhaps a bit of luck that was missing. Good work in the center of the park from Phil Robinson and Casey Mitton helped Hakoah up the pressure after the break but the visitors repeatedly failed to find the back of the net, oftentimes due to the timely interventions of Waldwick's goalkeeper but other times just because attempts went slightly off the mark.
Player of the week Jake Weinberg's energetic defending was one of the few highlights of a disappointing afternoon for Hakoah, and his long throw-ins led to many of the best opportunities to equalize. In the 47th minute, his throw to the far post found a diving Lennox Brown, whose powerful header hit the side netting. In the 80th minute, he launched a ball right into the back of the Waldwick net which was duly disallowed as it had not been touched on the way in.
After Hakoah's Aleksey Nazarov made two big saves of his own to keep the match close, Michel Asayag's excellent lob attempt bounced wide of the goal in the 50th minute. Nine minutes later, Saeed Sulemana-Baba raced clear with the ball at his feet and blasted the ball toward the far corner of the net. The goalkeeper dove nicely to palm the ball away, denying the Hakoah bench a chance to celebrate. Sulemana-Baba nearly struck again in the 61st minute, as a low cross from Silk found him in front but yet again the keeper did well to preserve the clean sheet.
The Waldwick keeper passed his stiffest test in the 68th minute, as the ball bounced through the box towards Brown who hammered it towards goal. The keeper did fantastically to tip it over the bar for a corner. From that point on, other factors kept Hakoah off the scoresheet. Asayag was denied by the crossbar in the 81st minute, and a controversial offside call in the 85th minute nullified another good scoring chance for him. In the 90th minute, Asayag rifled a ball over the bar but by them Waldwick had already tallied its insurance goal and Hakoah's league winning streak was ended at six.
WSC -- unknown 15
WSC -- unknown 87
SCH -- R. Glickman 56
WSC -- #7 79
SCH -- N. Nahar 79
Referee: Robert Chechit
Time of Game: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 76 degrees