On Saturday, Birmingham Hammers made the 165-mile trek to Conyers, Georgia to take on Georgia Revolution in the first leg of the I-20 Cup. After a feisty 90 minutes, the Revolution completed an undefeated preseason by winning 2-0.
How it Happened
The Hammers kicked things off and immediately, charged downfield and let off a shot that went over the bar within the first minute of the contest. The Hammers continued to pile on the pressure in the early minutes but were unable to truly test the Revolution goalkeeper.
The Revolution managed to get their first shot on target when a cross from midfielder, Scott Redding was delivered from the right side but was met by a headed effort straight at the keeper. The Georgia side ended any early Hammers momentum in the 16th minute when midfielder Nick Wells won the ball in his own half, dribbled past a defender, and played a through ball to striker Carlos Mendoza on the right who slotted the ball past the keeper in the bottom left corner, making the score 1-0 to the Revolution.
In the 23rd minute, the Hammers won a free kick on the right side, around 22 yards from goal. The Hammers player tried sneak the ball under the Revolution wall with his attempt but was blocked and resulted in a Revolution counter attack. The Revolution charged down the field and played in a low cross which was met by a Hammers defender who almost put the ball into his own net.
In the 35th minute, the Hammers had their most dangerous chance of the night when a cross from the left was met by an unmarked player on the back post but was headed just wide of the open net. Just two minutes later, however, the Revolution responded to the Hammers threat when eventual the Man of the Match, Nick Wells, dribbled past two defenders on the left side and calmly passed the ball into the bottom corner, doubling the Revolution advantage.
With just a minute remaining in the first half, the Revolution failed to convert and extend the lead after a Mendoza received a low cross from Scott Redding on the right side but the striker missed an open net by shooting wide left.
In the 49th minute, Revolution left back, Jonathan Guy, cleared a Hammers attempt off the line to keep the Hammers scoreless. Later, with 53 minutes gone, the Revolution put together a few brilliant combination passes in the midfield that led to a through ball but was met by the Hammers keeper. In the 79th minute, the final clear chance of the match was saved when Redding got on the end of a Revolution corner from the left side. The Revolution midfielder volleyed the ball towards the net but was rebounded by the keeper and was put out for a goal kick.
The two first half goals were the decider in the 2-0 Georgia Revolution win over the Birmingham Hammers. Nick Wells's involvement in both goals earned him Man of the Match. Along with Wells, midfielder Scott Redding and centerback Ibrahim Faye put in dominant performances.
The Revolution will kick off NPSL regular season play this weekend at home in a must-see match against in-state rivals, Atlanta Silverbacks. Kickoff will be at 7:00 PM on Saturday at the RYSA Soccerplex. Tickets can be purchased in advance here. The second leg of the I-20 Cup will be May 28 in Birmingham.