This game was a must win for both sides and the tension was palpable in the first half. Possession was split between the two and each team produced several good scoring opportunities. Charleston took the first swing in the 12th minute but Seedy Bah's effort went high. Wilmington were looking dangerous attacking twice in as many minutes and it was nearly advantage Hammerheads only a quarter hour into the match. Around the 20 minute mark, Charleston had a pair of attempts but just couldn't connect inside the box. In the 37th, a lethal strike from Wilmington's Avesyan sent Battery keeper Andrew Dystrka diving off his line to tip the ball to safety. Despite the open play and offensive action, the first half would end as it began, 0-0.
In the second half it looked to be more of the same. However, in the 76th minute Wilmington's Manny Guzman would break the deadlock. The Campbell grad scored an excellent headed goal from a well executed corner kick. The goal deflated the crowd and it was evident the Charleston players were disappointed. However, it would take only three minutes for the Battery to draw level. Our boys responded immediately and the home team made an aggressive shift. Stephen Armstrong's long range effort was denied but Brandon Massie was there to take advantage of the rebound. The ball fell favorably for him and his perfectly placed shot caught the keeper on the wrong foot. Off balance and unprepared, he was helpless as he watched Massie's brilliant touch glide just inside the far post. Time was running out and both sides were desperately searching for the game winning goal. In what must have been the last few seconds of allotted stoppage time, Colin Falvey lifted a beautiful ball inside the area. Timing his run with precision, Dane Kelley stunned the keeper with a phenomenal header. The crowd errupted and the Hammerheads were furious. In further extra time there would be even more drama. A confusing turn of events saw Levi Coleman dropped in the box, the play waved on, and Hammerheads defender Garreth Evans dismmissed for dissent with two yellow cards. A scuffled ensued and the inconsolable Evans was helped off the field by his teammates. As the whistle blew, Charleston emerged the victors.
|Kelley outwits the Wilmington defense|
This was another huge result for the Battery. The match sure ended in a whirlwind of action but when it comes to scoring goals, its better late than never! The weekend's action leaves Charleston third in their division, two points behind Richmond and still only one point ahead of Wilmington. The win elevates the Battery to first in the Southern Derby. The pressure is mounting as the playoffs loom just over a month away. This week we face the Dayton Dutch Lions in Ohio. I think we can expect another strong performance from the Battery as week continue to jockey for those playoff spots. Up the Battery!