For the second time in four days, the Baltimore Bohemians faced the Jersey Express in a top-four Mid-Atlantic Division matchup. And, for the second time, the Express came back to deny a Baltimore victory, scoring with just over six minutes to go to secure a 2-2 draw at Dixon Field, on the campus of the McDonogh School.
Things looked bleak for the home side after only a quarter of an hour. After putting only one shot towards the visiting net, Malcolm Harris was sent off by the referee for a rough challenge. The visitors nearly made the hosts pay minutes later, but a free kick from Joseph Ovenseri one-hopped into the arms of Baltimore goalkeeper Zach Kane, who was making his first start of the season.
The manpower advantage evened up in the 22nd minute. Joseph Niouky picked up his second yellow of the contest, leaving the Express defender to face an early shower of his own, although he was clearly unhappy to be playing an abbreviated role in the contest.
At the half-hour mark, Michael Gamble broke free from the Jersey defense, with only goalkeeper Jon Dawson standing in his way of the goal. The execution of his chip, however, left Gamble distraught, as he sailed the ball over the bar from point-blank range.
Two minutes after the hosts’ opportunity to break the deadlock, the visitors made good on their attempt. A well-placed curler of a free kick off the foot of Brayan Martinez found the top-right corner, beating Kane cleanly.
Five minutes after halftime, Baltimore leveled the score with a set piece of their own. Gamble’s free kick was swooped in from the right wing, where Marquez Fernandez timed his leap to perfection, heading the ball from six yards out past the goalkeeper Dawson, tying the match at 1-1.
Jersey nearly clawed back with an equalizer just after an hour, as Benito Amaral thumped a booming drive from 25 yards out towards the net. Kane, however, made his best save of the match, glancing the ball away with his outstretched fingertips.
With 18 minutes to play, the hosts regained the advantage with Fernandez’s second goal of the match, again from a header, and it looked as though Baltimore would shake off the demons that had cost them the three points in Sunday’s match in New Jersey.
However, with eight minutes to go in regulation, the Express sounded their intent to equalize again. Abdoulaye Coulibaly first rattled the crossbar with a long-distance strike, then Ansger Otto’s close attempt was saved by Kane. The third time was the charm, though, as Coulibaly’s rebound grazed the hands of Kane and rolled into the net to give the visitors a point in the standings with a 2-2 draw.
Baltimore (3-1-4) had a chance to overtake Ocean City for first place in the division with a win, but the draw, coupled with Ocean City’s win over Long Island, leaves the Bohs three points behind the top spot with six games to play. The Bohemians face F.A. Euro in their next match on Saturday at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Goals: JE – Brayan Martinez (32′), Abdoulaye Coulibaly (84′); BAL – Marquez Fernandez (50′, 72′)
Yellow Cards: JE – Joseph Niouky (2′), Lamin Janneh (69′), Nicholas Viaggio (71′); BAL – Mamadou Kansaye (33′), Alex Shinsky (78′)
Red Cards: JE – Joseph Niouky (22′); BAL – Malcolm Harris (16′)
Shots: JE – 20, BAL – 14
Saves: JE – 3, BAL – 8
Fouls: JE – 16, BAL – 15
Offsides: JE – 7, BAL – 2
Corners: JE – 4, BAL – 5