Following a big win over FC Cincinnati, Bethlehem Steel looked to keep the momentum going against Harrisburg City.
A 90th-minute winner broke the hearts of Bethlehem Steel as they dropped points to Harrisburg City Islanders in a 3-2 defeat. In a gritty performance, it was a 90th-minute squirmer that went just under Jake Maguire’s body that made the difference between the two sides. Cardel Benbow was the man of the hour but it was a good match throughout.
Aaron Wheeler scored in the 10th minute following a bit of chaos in the box. The Steel defense was unable to clear their lines so wheeler took advantage with an opportunistic finish putting Harrisburg up 1-0. It was an unfortunate result for Bethlehem Steel as they were creating more chances in the early going but just like their parent club, the Steel were unable to finish their chances.
After scoring their goal, Harrisburg dropped off giving Bethlehem Steel time on the ball while making sure that Seku Conneh was marked tightly. While the announcers for the game were unable to say Conneh’s name, it was clear that Bill Becher warned his team of the danger that Conneh posed.
Bethlehem steel had a tough time breaking down Harrisburg’s backline with numerous long ball attempts being handled. While the Steel held the possession numbers, it was Harrisburg that made the most of their chances. Harrisburg grabbed a second goal as James Thomas put a cross on the ground that was tidily put away by James Thomas.
Bethlehem would pull one back before the half with Santi Moar capitalizing on more chaos in the box. Brandon Miller wasn’t able to handle the initial Steel attempt and Moar drove the rebound home for his first professional goal. This brought the score to 2-1 favoring Harrisburg at the half.
Prior to the half, Harrisburg center back Travis Brent went down with what looked like a pulled groin leading to Tiago Calvano being subbed into the match.
The beginning of the second half wasn’t much to write home about until Aaron Jones threaded a beautiful ball through to Adam Najem. Najem was unable to put in into the net as Miller deflected it just enough for the ball to go harmlessly out of bounds.
Shortly thereafter, Najem, who was likely trying after appearing in the Philadelphia Union match last night, was taken out in favor of Chris Nanco. Nanco, making his professional debut, immediately changed the tide of this game. His dribbling skills and speed allowed Bethlehem Steel to be more aggressive in the attack and it was soon rewarded by an equalizer. Nanco was able to bring the match level after scoring from Conneh’s pass.
The clash continued with neither team able to get a leg up on the other until a late substitution from Harrisburg city changed the tides. Cardel Benbow was introduced in the 84th minute for Manolo Sanchez as Harrisburg pushed for the winner. Benbow ended up scoring it in the 90th minute on a shot that just squirmed in under the body of Jake Maguire.
While Bethlehem Steel lost on the day, Brenden Burke has to be impressed with the performance of Chris Nanco. Nanco was a problem for the Harrisburg defense from the moment that he entered the game until the final whistle. Hopefully his brief cameo tonight is a sign of more to come.