The Charleston Battery picked up their second home win of the 2016 USL Season in as many tries tonight as they beat the Wilmington Hammerheads, 2-1, thanks to late goal. The win keeps Charleston unbeaten through three matches so far this season.
The Battery got off to the best possible start by scoring in just the second minute of play. A long throw into the box found the head of Ataullah Guerra who headed off the crossbar. The ball fell to the feet of Romario Williams who bundled home his second goal of the season in his first ever start. A goal that will never appear on any highlight reels, but it counted the same as all the others.
Williams was a big factor in the Battery's plans early on as he tested the Wilmington back line several times in the opening quarter of an hour. He forced a few saves and was the focal point of the play.
It took 30 minutes for the Hammerheads to muster their first chance of the match and they didn't waste it. From a free kick on the right flank, a perfect whipped in ball from Mael Corboz found the head of Bruno Perone and his header flew past the diving Tambakis to make it 1-1. It was the first goal the Battery and the Atlanta United loanee had conceded all season.
After giving up the goal, the Battery picked up the level of their play and took back control of the game with pressure on the opposing goal. Again it was Romario Williams on the end of the chances as he had two good shots blocked by Wilmington defenders near the end of the first half. The Battery had a shout for a penalty before the halftime whistle blew, but the referee waved off an apparent handball on a Hammerhead defender.
Both sides came out sluggish to start the second half with the play slowed down to a crawl compared to the opening 45 minutes.
Play finally settled down ten minutes into the half with the Battery controlling possession once again. They buzzed around the Wilmington goal, but never really threatened it.
Each teams had their share of chances to pull ahead in the second half, but neither were able to get a real shot on target with both squibbing weak shots wide of goal on several occasions.
The vast amount of pressure by the Battery finally paid off in the 85 minute as a Justin Portillo corner kick found the head of Taylor Mueller, who nodded down at the near post and beat the goalkeeper and several defenders standing on the goal line to give the home side a late 2-1 lead.
Wilmington piled on the pressure late to push for an equalizer. Their best chance came from a 50/50 ball in the Battery box that Alex Tambakis came for and was knocked over for a foul. Time would wind down and the Battery would prevail.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Tambakis again had very little to do. Nothing he could've done on Wilmington's goal. Has to be a little stronger when challenging for balls in the air.
- Romario Williams was a menace in his hour on the field. He's a very exciting force up top.
- The addition of Neveal Hackshaw to the starting lineup in the midfield helped the Battery control possession for most of the night. He's a calming influence on the whole team.