Monday, June 25, 2012

Battery Roll in Home Win, Charleston 3-1 Harrisburg City

The Charleston Battery are firing on all cylinders as evidenced by their big win Saturday night over the Harrisburg City Islanders.  A bumper crowd of 4,634 filled Blackbaud Stadium on a warm evening in the Lowcountry.  The win gives Charleston nine on the season and further solidifies a second-place berth in the USLPRO standings.

The Black and Yellow looked like scoring from the opening whistle but were foiled in their early attempts.  Jose Cuevas slung a fiery shot goalwards but his effort was extinguished by Harrisburg's Nick Noble, who had his hands full defending against Charleston's fifteen shots throughout the match.  Navion Boyd had a good chance or two but couldn't convert.  Further provoking the Islander's defense, Sanyang whipped a cross into John Wilson, whose header was only just scuffed off the line.  While it was far from one-way traffic, the Battery spent most of the half behind the ball.  And just as it seemed the sides would enter the break on level pegging, Nicki Paterson delivered a ball to Boyd on the right.  In a lunging effort, the Jamaican offered up a pass to the onrushing Cuevas.  Collecting the turbulent ball, Charleston's "Chiva" struck a fine volley from the bounce, stunning Noble and his Harrisburg compatriots.  The stands erupted and the Battery finished the first half a goal to the good but more importantly, they'd earned a decisive psychological edge.
Charleston were all business at the restart and secured their second goal within five minutes.  A splitting through pass was played upfield for Bundu who placed the ball perfectly for Boyd at the far post.  Tapping in from short range, he notched his first goal for the Battery!  Responding immediately, Harrisburg found the net minutes later after they turned the tables and placed Charleston under pressure.  From the flurry of players inside the area, the Islander's Drew Yates rifled a shot which somehow found its mark.  I'm not entirely sure what happened...it seemed that Dykstra got a hand on the shot, it popped back out, only to be slammed again, striking the arm of a Battery defender.  My guess is that it was ruled a goal from the first shot since Yates was credited with the tally.  Regardless, the game opened up and the ball was dashing from one end to the next.  Harrisburg forced an important game-changing save from Dykstra at 68 minutes.  Paterson and Sanyang both received cautions for reasons unbeknownst to me and the majority of those in attendance.  Somewhat balancing those decisions was the delivery of a second yellow to Harrisburg's Welker in the 83rd minute, and Charleston held a one-man advantage for the remainder of the match.  Assisted by Donatelli, Battery substitute Ryan Richter grabbed the go-ahead goal three minutes from time to seal the result.  With plenty of fresh legs on the field, the home side nearly bagged a few more goals in extra time.  Zach Prince had a fine shot and new signing Dino Williams very nearly scored in his Charleston debut.  While the match surely lacked the controversy and violence of our last few fixtures, it was never lacking in excitement or entertainment!!

The Battery will be cruising down to Antigua & Barbuda for a pair of matches against the Barracudas this Friday and Sunday at Sir Vivian Richards stadium.  Charleston have won 4-0 and 3-0 in their previous encounters this season at Blackbaud but can expect to work a bit more for their goals once in the Caribbean.  After this week's trip, they return for a home-and-away fixture with the Charlotte Eagles next weekend.

Let's keep up that incredible form and bring home six points from Antigua!!! UP THE BATTERY!!

Here are some first half-highlights from the match:

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