NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Midfielder Nathan Dounel tallied his first goal of the season and Cristiano Hocken put in his sixth as New Providence picked up their second straight victory, topping Hillside, 2-1, on a brisk Monday afternoon at Lieder Field.
Playing without leading goal scorer Lorik Berisha, who is out with a concussion, the Pioneers needed to find a new source of offense heading into a huge match-up with Hillside.
That source happened to be Dounel, who found the back of the net midway through the first half after some sound ball movement on the Hillside end of the field.
“I was able to get a lucky bounce off one of their players in order to get this scoring chance,” Dounel said. “I played a ball out wide and my teammates did a good job getting it back in the box to make something happen.”
Despite handling the ball for most of the half, the Pioneers were held in check the remainder of the first 40 minutes, as they headed into intermission with a slim 1-0 advantage.
It only took 10 minutes for the home side to double their lead as a cross from left wing Chris Kang slithered through the Hillside defense and reached Hocken, who was able to blast it past the keeper at point blank for a 2-0 lead.
Even though a penalty kick scored by Hillside in the 60th minute cut the Pioneer lead in half, New Providence was able to stay aggressive and minimize any Hillside threats throughout the remainder of the game, as they were able to hold for a big win.
“Even though we were up two goals, it’s the most deceiving lead in soccer,” Dounel said. “We knew that we had to keep playing the ball up front and try and keep possession as long as we can.”
New Providence faces another huge test Wednesday night as they travel to Berkeley Heights to take on their archrival Gov. Livingston, with kick-off scheduled for 7 p.m.