In a brilliant display of world class football, Charleston can be proud of their result against one of the most storied soccer clubs in all England. This past Wednesday, the Charleston Battery hosted Portsmouth FC in an international friendly match. The game drew a crowd of 3,345, not a sell out, but a good attendance for a midweek fixture. After a lively tailgate hosted by the Regiment, it was time for the match everyone (including Mr. Portsmouth Football Club Westwood) had been waiting for.
The opening minutes were filled with action and the first scoring chance came in the sixth. A Charleston clearance fell to Pompey's Joel Ward whose shot was just off target. The Battery attack came alive with only a quarter hour in the books. Zach Prince exploded down the line leaving defenders in his wake. His effort from the box tested Portsmouth keeper Steven Henderson but the Irishman was equal to the task. The following minutes of play saw a flurry of offense from Charleston as they pressed the PFC back line in hopes of a breakthrough. Nicki Patterson sent a well time ball forward to Dane Kelley two minutes later, only to have the striker's shot blocked by Portsmouth's Captain and defender, Aaron Mokoena. The onslaught continued in the 19th as Patterson again linked up with Kelley whose cross suprised the Blue Army defense. Levi Coleman met the effort but his header was just wide of the goal.
In the second half, European legend Kanu gave the home fans a scare when he fed Luke Varney a square ball in the box. Keith Wiggans saved Battery blushes, maintaining his composure and making a fine save. The key moment of the match came in the 76th as it was again Levi Coleman with a game changing opportunity. A muffed clearance fell to the midfielder and left him staring at an open net. However, the scoresheet would remain empty as his turning shot slipped past the right post.
It was a good effort by the boys and a great opportunity for Charleston to host the match. Hopefully, the exhibition will give us a good boost as we head into the home stretch of the regular season. I'm looking forward to hosting more great teams from around the world. Its become a tradition at Blackbaud. GO BATTERY!!!