Battery come from behind in Cincy to advance in Playoffs

The Charleston Battery have advanced to the second round of the USL Playoffs after they dug deep to reverse a 1-0 deficit in Cincinatti, coming from behind to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Chris Tsonis and Zach Prince.

The match was in front of an astounding 30,000-plus crowd at Nippert Stadium, breaking the USL Playoff attendance record by some 10,000, and continuing FC Cincinatti’s stellar attendance figures.

The Battery could’ve capitalized on a mistake as early as the fifth minute, when Mitch Hildebrandt in goal for the home side dilly dallied with the ball at his feet and had it tackled away. Just as Romario Williams was shaping up to shoot however, the ‘keeper dived back onto the ball and the danger was averted.

On nine minutes, Andrew Wiedeman had a shot from distance, but the effort went well wide of Alex Tambakis in the Battery goal.

But ten minutes later, midfielder Eric Stevenson had acres of space about 25 yards from goal, looked up and decided to have his own pop at goal. This time, the shot was much better, as it arrowed into the top corner, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.

The fact that no one came out to close down the effort is something the Battery defense will be frustrated with, but take nothing away, the goal was brilliant, and Cincy were in front, leaving the Battery under the cosh a little, especially with such a big crowd on their back.

But perhaps the biggest credit given to the Battery was that the heads didn’t drop. The long ball up to strikers Romario Williams and Chris Tsonis was effective, and the visitors stuck to the game plan.

Their next chance was on the half an hour mark as good build up play found Zach Prince with a bit of space, but his shot went straight to Hildebrandt.

On 35′, Shaun Okoli, who was the Golden Boot winner in the USL regular season, was played in behind, but seemed indecisive as an apparent shot hit the side netting.

Five minutes later, it was something the Battery fans know well that gave them a lifeline. A long throw by Obi Woodbine sailed into the box and found the head of Chris Tsonis, who simply out-jumped Hildebrandt and nodded the ball into an empty net. The home side were looking for a foul on the ‘keeper, but on replay, it showed that Hildebrandt had positioned himself in a side-on position to get more power on a punch, but Tsonis got his head to the ball first, and the score was level.

Woodbine’s throw-in has been an effective weapon throughout the season, and his rocket-launcher like throw in came in handy again, getting the Battery right back into the thick of things.

But yet, Alex Tambakis would have to come up big as we entered stoppage time in the first half, when a ball lofted up into the box found Weideman, who took a touch, but couldn’t get an effort at goal off as Tambakis came and smothered the ball.

Cincinatti had a quick succession of corners, but nothing came of them, before a corner on the hour mark led to a counter from Romario Williams. He was without options and had to go it alone, racing toward goal against three Cincinatti defenders before shooting just before he got into the penalty area, and the effort was blazed over.

But then, on 64’ Zach Prince got to the edge of the box, and looked to shoot before being crowded out, and got the ball to Dante Marini just before the ball was cleared, who then played Romario Williams in stride, who forced a fantastic save from Mitch Hildebrandt to deny the Battery’s leading scorer the go ahead goal.as the ball went out for a corner.

The danger wasn’t over though, as Maikel Chang took the set piece that found Prince at the front post, who aimed a header toward goal, and the ball bounced off the defender on the line, went along the goal line and settled in the left side of the net to give the Battery the lead.

The Battery had been slowly gaining momentum up to that point, but the home side’s failure to deal with set pieces had come back to haunt them not once, but twice. The Battery had come back from a goal down, and only needed to hold on to get into the next round.

Pat McMahon took the initiative though four minutes later after he was on the end of some good buildup play, but his shot went high over the bar.

On 70′, Shaun Okoli took down a deflected pass and turned his man before getting a shot off, but the effort was saved by Tambakis.

Then, a minute later, the subs began for the Battery, with Naviel Hackshaw coming on for Chris Tsonis. Tsonis, with the first half goal to equalize for the Black and Yellow, took his tally up to four for the year, all of which were equalizers.

Cincinnati had some dangerous build up again on 72′ before Corben Bone found Andrew Weideman, who took a crack on the volley, but his shot was saved by Tambakis.

Heviel Cordoves replaced Romario Williams on 77′. Williams quietly went about his business in this game, providing pace and getting involved in link up play, but he’ll be frustrated that his only real chance, the breakaway midway through the second half, was blazed wide.

And then Stevenson, who already had a worldie today, took a crack from distance with 8 minutes to go, but the shot would go wide.

The home side would pile on the pressure late, earning a few free kicks, including one which was played toward the back post, which was saved by Tambakis in the 84th.

A short corner with a minute in normal time to go could’ve killed the game off for the visitors, but Attaulla Guerra’s shot after a cheeky one two and turn into the box went straight at the ‘keeper.

Hearts were in mouths for both sides as the board went up for four minutes stoppage time, and again when Cincinnati got a corner in the dying seconds, but nothing really came of the late possession that the home side had, and as the ball was cleared by the Battery defense following the corner, the referee blew for full time.

And so, it was the Battery, going up to Cincinnati and pulling off the upset, coming from behind to win. After Louisville beat Richmond after extra time, it will be Louisville next away from home for the Battery.

GAME WINNER ZACH PRINCE FIGHTS FOR A BALL WITH A GOALKEEPER EARLIER IN THE SEASON. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

Screamer stuns Battery in loss to Montreal

The Battery were made to pay for a slow start on Wednesday afternoon, as they fell 2-1 away from home against FC Montreal. The hosts went ahead after 14 minutes through Anthony Jackson-Hamel, before Jeremy Ebobisse‘s goal on his full debut five minutes from half time gave the Battery a lifeline. But a late long range effort from Jimmy Shamaar Sanon gave Montreal all three points.

FC Montreal’s first chance came just four minutes in, as Chuarniere got around his man and forced a save from Odisnel Cooper, who tipped the ball out for a corner, which was cleared.

On six minutes, Zach Prince had a shot blocked at the other end, but it was cleared before anyone could follow in.

And then the Battery were behind on 14 minutes. A cross from the right came in for Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and Taylor Meuller overplayed the flight of the ball, giving him space to control and turn, firing past Cooper in goal to make it 1-0. It was a good goal, and probably deserved for Montreal, given the run of play early on, but the Battery would know that the start they made wasn’t good enough.

The Battery would play the ball up to Romario Williams on 20′, and he controlled well, though his shot would go into the side netting.

Montreal were asking questions again on 26′, with a corner taken short that the Battery failed to fully deal with and had to struggle it out for a corner, but that was dealt with and away.

The Battery would have their lifeline late in the first half, when Jeremy Ebobisse latched on to a ball from midfield, took a touch to square up to his defender, then another to create space before curling an effort into the top corner.

The Battery were on level terms headed into the break, knowing that the second half would have to be better at least from a starting point, as they did come into a little later on in the half, but there were definitely improvements needed.

But like the first half, the hosts had the first chance of the second period, countering after winning the ball in midfield. The cross was inch perfect and forced a save out of Odisnel Cooper from a header as the ball seemed destined for goal. The corner, however, was well dealt with.

Maikel Chang’s 49th minute free kick was played into Zach Prince, but he couldn’t control at the back post as the ball went out for a goal kick.

Goalscorer Jeremy Ebobisse had another chance from a Maikel Chang header down after Quinton Griffith‘s cross in, but the shot lacked power and went into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Montreal had a man sent off just before the hour after a challenge on Attullah Guerra in midfield. The challenge was two footed, and Guerra had to jump to avoid it, and the referee blew for a free kick, eventually sending the player off.

Ricky Garbanzo would replace Ebobisse on 60 minutes, coming on for his pace and pressing ability. Ebobisse could be happy with his full debut, scoring to get his team back in the match. He just looked a little tired as he came off, and so perhaps it was a smart move to get some fresh legs on.

Garbanzo would nearly make an instant impact, after Guerra won the ball back and played a 1-2 with the sub, as Garbanzo sped away down the wing, then played a low cross for Williams, who turned and shot, but the effort was high.

With 20 minutes left, a Romario Williams shot which was deflected earned the visitors a corner, which was played in by Maikel Chang. Zach Prince would make a late run onto the inch perfect ball, but he couldn’t direct it on target.

Andrew Carleton would come on shortly afterward, making his first appearance since July, having spent time with the US Youth set up.

Two minutes later, Prince could’ve made amends after Quinton Griffith’s cross fell to Prince, but his shot bounced off the turf and over the bar.

And on 81′ the Battery would pay for not converting their chances, when Jimmy Schamaar Sanon got space on the left and cut in, and wasn’t closed down before unleashing an absolute thunderbolt from all of twenty yards past Odisnel Cooper.

The Battery were up against it then, but on 86′, Ricky Garbanzo got the ball from Andrew Carleton, and had a shot of his own from distance, but the ball went over the bar.

In stoppage time, the Battery could’ve had a penalty as they threw the kitchen sink at Montreal, as a ball popped out toward Heviel Cordoves, and he went down under a challenge, but the referee gave a corner, which was cleared.

And so the Battery fell away from home. It turns out that Montreal have been somewhat of a bogey team for the Battery, their record all time being 3-0-1. The Battery next face the Bethlehem Steel, in a match where they will honor Leukemia and Lymphoma awareness month by wearing special orange and white kits on Saturday, September 10th. Kick off is at 7:30.

TWO PLAYERS BATTLE FOR POSSESSION IN THE LAST MEETING BETWEEN THESE TWO SIDES. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battery fail to convert chances in loss to Rochester

It was a match that could’ve easily went the other way, but the Battery just couldn’t take their chances, allowing the Rochester Rhinos to overturn a Justin Portillo penalty in the first half to come back and win.

Rochester had the first sniff of the game, but only turning it into a half chance when an early corner was flicked on at the near post across the face of goal, only to squirm all the way through the box and be cleared away from danger.

The Battery’s first meaningful attack led to a penalty just after a quarter of an hour when Quinton Griffith got a cross into the box which didn’t get into any dangerous areas, but only because his marker handled the ball. The referee took a beat to think about the decision, and then pointed to the spot, and it was Portillo who slotted home coolly from 12 yards.

A Rochester corner in the 19th was cleared out after causing a little bit of trouble, but the away side were threatening to find their way back in to the match the more it wore on.

But things could’ve been different, when Quinton Griffith got himself free again on the flank and picked out Ricky Garbanzo, who tried to aim the header down and make it hard for the ‘keeper, but the effort lacked purchase and went straight into his arms. As such, the Battery knew they should have been two up, and it would come back to haunt them.

Two minutes later, the away side countered and drove through midfield, committing numbers to the attack, when Christian Volesky found himself in the box with the ball at his feet, and he would turn his defender and smash home for the equalizer.

While somewhat unlucky, the Battery needed to be better at converting their chances if they were going to get anything from the game, knowing that Rochester have one of the best defenses in the entire league, winning the championship last year where the backline carried the load.

Though shortly after, Quinton Griffith would continue his good night, cutting in and sending a cutting pass that was dummied and eventually found the other full back Obi Woodbine, who kept his composure when faced by the goalkeeper and stuck the ball home. However, the flag went up for offside, and the goal was ruled out.

And that’s the way the teams went in at the break. 1-1 was probably a fair scoreline, but it could’ve also been said that the Battery were slightly the better team, and just weren’t ruthless enough.

The Battery could’ve had a go-ahead goal almost straight out of the break, when a clearance from a Battery corner fell to the foot of Woodbine, and almost like the goal he scored in Charlotte a few weeks ago, he ripped one from long range. This time though, it cracked the underside of the crossbar and was cleared long.

And just a moment later, the Battery forced another corner, this time from the right, which was played in and flicked on, but just beyond the diving Shawn Ferguson, but the Battery Captain couldn’t make contact as the ball just alluded his outstretched leg.

The next chance came way of Rhinos goalscorer Valesky, who received the ball in the box on 56, and slotted the ball along the ground for what looked to be a certain goal, but somehow Alex Tambakis stayed big and got down to the effort to keep it out.

Valesky would then latch onto a through ball from midfield on the hour mark, leaving him one on one with Tambakis, but the striker would sky his effort.

Then soon after, the Battery had their chance, with Heviel Cordoves getting through on goal himself, but as he looked for an angle to shoot, he gave the ‘keeper too much time to close him down, and he made the striker panic as he shot, which the goalkeeper parried away.

Maikel Chang would find Dante Marini in the box on 72′, but the winger would lean back as he took the effort and push the ball just wide.

And the Battery would pay for not showing their ruthless streak, as on 82′, A ball played around the box would force Tambakis into a great double save, but the ball refused to get clear and fell to a Rochester foot, and somehow, after making that miraculous double save, the ball would somehow find its way under the goalkeeper and into the net, giving Rochester a late lead.

And despite a late push from the Battery, that’s how things would end. The hopes of gaining third place, and more home games in the playoffs, are dwindling for the Battery. Richmond are idle this weekend, and even a point, which would’ve drawn them level in the standings, would’ve been a degree of success for the Black and Yellow, but it was not to be.

The Battery travel to Montreal next for a midweek tie against FC Montreal on Wednesday, September 7th. Please be aware of the early kickoff, which is at 2:00PM.

TOP IMAGE: THE SCOREBOARD SHOWS THE TWO TEAMS BEFORE KICK OFF ON A SATURDAY EVENING OF FRUSTRATION FOR THE BATTERY. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO.

Portillo’s Free Kick steals point against Kickers; sends Battery to Playoffs

Justin Portillo’s wonderful free kick gave the Battery an equalizer, thus earning them a point as they drew 1-1 on Wednesday night against the Richmond Kickers.

It was probably a fair result given the physicality of the match, and yellow cards were brandished to both sides over the 90 minutes, with challenges being central to both teams’ goals.

The first half didn’t give us much to talk about, with both sides creating half-chances, but lacking the final ball on a number of occasions. The two defenses were stout, and space was tight in the first 45, the best chance perhaps falling to Richmond after Shawn Ferguson misjudged a low cross after 17′ and fluffed a clearance, which fell to the feet of Jackson Eskay. Eskay expected the ball to be cleared however, and therefore was on the back foot, and did eventually get a weak effort on target, but it was saved by Alex Tambakis.

Romario Williams would get the ball in a dangerous position for the Battery, but just as he was shaping to shoot, he was closed down by William Yomby with a great slide tackle.

Not too long after, Jackson Eskay was through again, and again Tambakis would come to the rescue, this time producing a double save, one which drove the ball away from goal, and another which was tipped around the post. The corner led to nothing, and the teams remained scoreless into half time.

There wasn’t really any cutting edge to either team in the first half. Both sides looked to play the ball around and look for the movement to open up instead of pushing to create, and the 0-0 score as the teams went in was justified.

But it didn’t take long for that to change. Though the man looked to have been fouled, the referee allowed the Kickers to play on, and Richmond’s Fred Owusu Sekyere played a ball through that split the defense and gave striker Anthony Grant an easy finish to open the scoring after 50 minutes.

It had looked like a foul leading up to the goal, but nonetheless the Battery were behind, which quickly got some changes brewing for the away side. Heviel Cordoves was the first to come on for Romario Williams who seemed to cut a distant figure for long stretches as the service up to him wasn’t great. The substitute Cordoves would at the very least give something else for the defenders to think about, as William Yomby was winning the battle with Williams in one on one situations.

But despite going down, the Battery never looked out of it. In the 62nd minute, a Battery corner was headed back across goal, and Dante Marini got on the end of it with a volley that looked to be destined for the back of the net had it not been for William Yomby’s clearance.

Jeffery Otoo came on shortly after, and his impact was soon felt as he would burst toward the box with first meaningful touch, and be knocked off the ball on the edge of the area, setting up a Justin Portillo free kick from 19 yards that dipped and curled into the net, leaving Andrew Dykstra stranded and knotting things up once more.

But with 20 minutes left in the match, Alex Tambakis had to come up big after goalscorer Grant played Yudai Imura through, but Tambakis rose to the occasion as he got his fingertips to the powerful effort and tipped it onto the bar and out for a corner, which led to nothing.

Yudai Imura would again be involved with 8 minutes to go. He latched onto a loose ball on the left and kept it alive by playing it through the six yard area, but the ball went hopelessly through everyone and was cleared away.

It was then the Battery’s turn to make a late push, after  86, there was some good build up play by Maikel Chang  find a pass to Heviel Cordoves, who then played Attaula Guerra, but Guerra mishit the effort, which went wide.

On 89′, a Battery corner was cleared and then put back into the area by Chang with the low cross, but his searching ball was cleared for a corner which was wasted.

There was a scare right at the death for the Black and Yellow, who gave away a corner in added time, though Alex Tambakis would claim, and the referee would blow the final whistle soon after, giving each team a point.

The result means that with five games left, the Battery have clinched a playoff spot. With a win, the Battery could’ve leap frogged Richmond into third, but remain one point behind the Kickers with the draw. Though they will surely be happy with the playoff berth and the point away from home.

The Battery return home next, facing the Rochester Rhinos on September 3rd. Kick Off is at 7:30.

TONIGHT’S GOALSCORER JUSTIN PORTILLO LOOKS ON FOLLOWING A SET PIECE THAT HE PLAYED IN. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

Battery edge Charlotte in hard-fought win

Despite a sleepy first half in which neither team created much, the season’s last Southern Derby game ended up being an entertaining one, as the Charleston Battery sneaked past the Charlotte Independence on Saturday night.

Maikel Chang‘s tap in after Attaulah Guerra laid it on a plate midway through the second half turned out to be what settled the scores, but Charlotte could also feel somewhat aggrieved that a shot which cannoned off the crossbar, and on further inspection, looked to have crossed the line, wasn’t given as a goal by the referee later on in the second 45, which just might have changed the game. Although the Battery did have a few more chances afterward in the closing stages, and might feel that they could’ve won by more.

Members of Jack’s Militia, the Charlotte fan club, were down for the match, looking to make the most of what was to be the final Southern Derby fixture of the year. There were said to be about 15 to 20 making the short trip south for the match, most making a weekend of the occasion.

For the Battery, it was Guerra up front, behind the withdrawn forward of Ricky Garbanzo to start the match, while Dante Marini started in place of Zach Prince, and Alex Tambakis was in goal for the Black and Yellow. Leading scorer Romario Williams, Chris Tsonis and Heviel Cordoves all started on the bench,  but all three would see minutes as the Battery looked for a foothold in the late season playoff push.

The Battery earned a corner taken by Justin Portillo and put straight in on the Charlotte Goalkeeper John Berner, who did well to punch away before the move broke down as Dante Marini committed a foul.

A mistake by Marini in midfield led to Charlotte’s first attempt of the evening, as on 11 minutes, Alex Tambakis was forced into one of a few good saves to stop a long range effort.

A Battery corner a couple minutes later was cleared, but the ball sat up for the onrushing Justin Portillo to have a pop, though the effort went high and wide.

Then, on 34′ was probably the Battery’s best chance of the first half, when a cleared corner came straight back out to Portillo, who put a ball into a place where no ‘keeper could dare come for it, and no defender could get to, but the onrushing Attaulah Guerra misjudged it an  was coming down from the attempted header before the ball had come to him. It was truly unlucky for the home side, as you felt if he’dve gotten anything on the ball, it would’ve opened the scoring. Charlotte, meanwhile, could breathe a sigh of relief.

The game really hadn’t come to life by time the half time whistle blew, and you got the sense that it really needed a goal to do so.

At half time, the 1996 USISL Championship winning team were honored. This being the 20th anniversary of their triumph, which was the first of four championships that the Battery have won, with the tribute being capped off with a video from then-player, now manager, Mike Anhaeuser which was played on the Jumbotron. It was a testament to how much history the club has, as well as how far it’s come in the years since its first title.

As things wrapped up in the half time festivities, the two teams were back out on the pitch and ready to go, and it was Charlotte who would have the first chance of the second half.

Brian Brown, who has established himself as more than just a little threat this year, latched onto a perfectly weighted through ball in the 47th minute, but with only Tambakis to beat, shanked the effort wide. It was a chance you would’ve put your house on him to score, and this time it was the home side breathing a sigh of relief.

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But they would right the ship quickly, and just three minutes later, would fashion a chance of their own. Attaulah Guerra would turn his man on the edge of the box, before running at the Charlotte backline. Beating them for pace, he could’ve taken a shot himself, but picked his head up and saw a open man in the middle of the box, which was Maikel Chang, who slotted the ball home to open the scoring.

As expected, the game began to open up a little more, and the visitors suddenly came to life, with Brian Brown getting some space just two minutes after the goal and expertly finding Enzo Martinez in the box, but the shot cannoned off the crossbar.

And then, two minutes after that, Brown went through again, but this time, Alex Tambakis would come and shut the angle of a shot down, and while Brown was able to get a dangerous looking cross away, it was cleared by the Battery defense.

Just past the hour mark, Brown again was given time to turn and shoot, but the effort from distance went wide.

And then came the moment of controversy in the 72nd, when Yann Ekra, a second half sub who was beginning to impact the game more and more as time went on, had a long range effort rattle the underside of the bar and bounce down and out. Given the replay on the jumbotron, everyone could clearly see the ball had crossed the line before bouncing harmlessly into the arms of Tambakis, but the referee remained oblivious, and surely missed one there.

With 12 to go, Quinton Griffith used a bit of trickery to get past his man and to the byline, but the defender did well to get back at him and deflect the cross out for a corner. The corner from the right somehow found its way to Naveal Hackshaw, but the ball seemed to take a bobble as his shot went over the bar.

On 82′ Charlotte earned a corner that was looking dangerous, but the ball was headed wide.

And two minutes later, a Charlotte cross was poorly cleared by the Battery onto Yann Ekra’s boot, but his shot went over the bar.

On 87′ Yann Ekra’s shot on the turn was saved by Alex Tambakis, and the ensuing corner led to a counter, spearheaded by Romario Williams. Williams would beat his defender for pace before having a shot, but his effort would go wide.

The last chance  game fell to Brian Brown, who brought down a clearance and shot on the volley, but the effort went narrowly wide.

The final whistle blew shortly after, giving the Battery an all important late season three points in the hunt for a playoff spot, as well as retaining the Southern Derby Cup.

The Battery next travel to Richmond to take on the Richmond Kickers on Wednesday, August 31st. The match kicks off at 7:00 PM.

TOP IMAGE: SHAWN FERGUSON WINS THE BALL IN AN EARLY CHALLENGE AS THE BATTERY WON AGAINST CHARLOTTE. ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodbine screamer earns Battery a point in Wilmington

In a very stop-start match, (for more reasons than one) the Battery earned a point from their last match against Southern rivals Wilmington. A deflected free kick gave  Hammerheads the lead, but a wondergoal on the half-volley from 30 yards by Obi Woodbine levelled things going into the break. Neither side could find a winner in the second half, before lightning forced both teams off the pitch in the 89th minute.

After playing just 21 minutes in Richmond in midweek before severe rain brought an end to proceedings, (and then postponed until August 31st) the weather bug struck again tonight, but this time only holding off kick off by an additional thirty minutes, though the Black and Yellow must’ve been thinking what they did to deserve such horrible luck.

The Battery were given an extra boost though, by a group of supporter’s club members making their annual trip north to watch the match, which is a sentiment shared by Wilmington supporters also, who make a trip to MUSC Health Stadium annually as well.

Romario Williams forced the ‘keeper into an early save after he broke through on the right, but the effort was palmed away at the near post and cleared before anyone could pick up the rebound.

In the 11th minute, it was Matthew Barnes-Homer that earned a corner for Wilmington, but the ball was cleared and the set piece didn’t trouble the defense.

The match then livened up a little, but not in the way you’d like to see. There were a few off the ball altercations following fouls given away in midfield, and it looked as though the referee was struggling to contain everyone following a foul by Shawn Ferguson on 31. The players lining up for the free kick were still at it minutes after the whistle was blown, and eventually Forrest Lasso fell to the turf after some handbags in the box. The situation was handled somewhat efficiently by the ref, who then blew the whistle for the original free kick to be taken.

Perhaps all the afters put the wall off guard, because the effort took a deflection and bounced past Alex Tambakis, giving the home side the lead with just about 10 minutes to go, all things considered, in the first half.

But the Battery wouldn’t let the heads drop though, earning a corner shortly after, but it was cleared without troubling the goalkeeper.

And then on 42′, Williams would latch onto a ball down the line, with Ashani Fairclough as his marker, who blocked away for another corner, which was wasted.

Wilmington had a free kick in stoppage time in the first half, which was wasted after an attacker was called offside, giving the Battery possession back, and they quickly earned another corner out of it. The initial ball was cleared, but fell to Obi Woodbine, who took a touch over his defender, waited for the ball to bounce on the half volley, and struck it into the top corner from a full 30 yards. The left back, who’s known for his long distance shooting, isn’t afraid to have a go from that range, but it’s not known if he has, or ever will, hit a ball that cleanly.

And it was easily a goal of the season candidate that got the Battery back on level terms, and got the wind back in their sails as that was just about the last kick of the half. The Battery earning some hard yards, but only creating chances after they conceded.

But Wilmington’s Justin Moose was the one that could’ve had the first real chance of the second half, when a cross bounced to him on the turf after 56′, but his effort was blocked out well and cleared before he could shoot.

Peabo Doue then ran clear after a good interchange, running through from the left back position, but shooting narrowly wide for the hosts.

In the 65th, Maikel Chang must’ve thought he’d scored after latching on to a cross from the right via a pullback, which beat the Wilmington ‘keeper, but Ashani Fairclough was on the line as the last line of defense to clear.

Later, on 72’, it was Chang again involved, this time playing the role of set up man, playing in substitute Dante Marini with a free kick that left him free on the left of the box, but his effort was off the post from a weird angle.

It was then the Battery’s turn to press the panic button two minutes later, when Forrest Lasso cleared a header toward the back post off the line, which would’ve given the home side the lead.

On 79′, a Justin Portillo corner from the left fell to Marini, who created space for himself, and had a lash, but put way too much power in the effort as it sailed over the bar.

With five minutes left, another Portillo corner was played in deep toward the back post, and headed on by Lasso toward the middle, which it looked like Maikel Chang dipped for, and it seemed destined for the net, before the goalkeeper somehow made a miraculous save, and the ball was bundled clear.

That was to be the last action of the match,  as in the 89th minute, lightning that had threatened previously in the evening struck again, and the referee deemed it unsafe to continue, handing each team a point.

So, an absolute wondergoal paid dividends for the Battery, and by and large, they can be happy with a point gained at a tough place to play for many reasons in Wilmington. They next travel to Charlotte on August 27th, taking on the Charlotte Independence.

TOP IMAGE: OBI WOODBNE IN BATTLE DURING THE BATTERY’S FREINDLY WITH RANGERS.

 

 

Costly mistakes hurt Battery in loss to Montreal

It was a night to forget as  Charleston Battery fell to FC Motreal, despite perhaps looking the better side for large stretches of the match. Despite this, there were mistakes in various areas for the home side, and Montreal were definitely the more clinical, and hit the Black and Yellow where it hurt.

The Battery looked to be the one fastest out of the gates when Attaulah Guerra played Romario Williams through just outside the box after a decent run through the midfield, but the striker couldn’t hold his run and was given offside.

Guerra then was played in himself after some decent work by Zach Prince on the wing, but his shot was high over the bar from range.

After 17 minutes, another piece of good work by Quinton Griffith led to a corner after his cross was cleared, but it was cut out by Max Crepeaux in goal for Montreal, who started the counter, which the visitors were dangerous from the whole evening, and it led to a chance for them, but t went wide of Odisnel Cooper‘s goal and out.

On 20’, a Zach Prince cross was cleared for a Battery corner, which was given to specialist Obi Woodbine, and put into a dangerous area. Despite this, the referee’s whistle blew for a foul throw, as his foot wasn’t touching the ground when the throw was taken, and possession went to the away side.

Montreal had a chance from a corner four minutes later, but the ball was cleared, though only for Montreal to reset, which finally fizzled out and was cleared.

There was then a hydration break a few minutes later after a player was down. The hydration break is mandatory when the temperature on the field is at 86.9 degrees or higher, and usually occurs around the 35th minute, but the stoppage in play gave the players for both sides an opportunity to take on some fluids.

A defensive error led to what was perhaps the best chance of the opening half for the home side. A misplaced header led to a chance for Romario Williams, but his shot at the near post was sad by Max Crepeaux, who pushed the ball away from danger as well and the ball was eventually cleared.

And the ‘keeper’s heroics paid dividends as on 39’, Anthony Jackson-Hamel was on the end of some great buildup play by the visitors, as he received a cheeky little backheel inside the box which left Odisnel Cooper stranded, and Montreal went up 1-0.

And that’s how the sides went in at the break. The Battery were wasteful in the second half, and it was something that they’d have to put right in order to get anything from the match.

And they started well, as a 47th minute corner was cleared, but reset and crossed in for another, which went across the face of goal and after misplayed attempts to cross fell to Justin Portillo, but his shot from the edge of the box was saved.

And then, on 51′ a Montreal corner was cleared, and it was time for the Battery to utilize the counter. It was led by Romario Williams, who had Ricky Garbanzo to his left and played him in. Garbanzo’s first touch was decent, but though the ball looked to have nestled in the back of the net, it hit the side netting and went behind for a goal kick.

Garbanzo then was replaced by Jeffrey Otoo, on loan from Atlanta United, making his USL debut. With his first meaningful touch just before the hour mark, he played Maikel Chang down the line and in on goal, and forced Crepeaux into another save, who at this point was keeping his side in the game, while Chang met his own rebound and hit the post.

And missed chances  again would haunt the Battery, but this time it was solely down to an error. On 64  The ball was played out of the back toward Griffith, who then looked to switch cross field toward his opposite number, Obi Woodbine. But the ball was read the entire way by a Montreal midfielder, Tabla, who picked his spot into the bottom corner to double the visitors’ lead.

It was shortly after this that the Battery threw on Heviel Cordoves, who’s made somewhat of a living being the Battery’s “Super-Sub”, and his presence was no doubt required if the home side were going to get anything from the game.

A succession of corners with about 20 minutes to go almost gave the Battery a lifeline, but Shawn Ferguson had one saved, and it clipped the bar on the way over, while the following corner was saved off the line after Forrest Lasso jumped to meet it. It was not for the want of trying for the home side, but the luck just wasn’t there at that point.

Until they finally got a lifeline in the 78th minute. Second half sub Dante Marini whipped the ball in toward the back post, which left Crepeaux scrambling as it curled toward goal. The save he made left him on the ground, and Maikel Chang picked up the pieces, giving him a tap in to reduce arrears and giving the Battery a lifeline.

The Battery would then throw the old kitchen sink at Montreal in hopes of the equalizer, Heviel Cordoves’ shot on 83 looking dangerous but lacking power as it rolled into the ‘keepers arms.

But the game was put to bed with 4 minutes left, the ball not properly cleared after a good cross into the Battey box, and after a scramble, it was Louis Beland Goyette sealing the points away from home for Montreal.

In the end, it was disheartening for the Battery, who had played well in some stretches, but paid the price for some complacency when it came to the final third.

Despite this, they’ll have to dust themselves off quickly with a trip to Richmond their next match on Wednesday, August 17th. Kick off is at 7PM

 

TOP IMAGE: QUINTON GRIFFITH FIGHTS FOR A BALL ON THE WING IN THE FIRST HALF. PHOTO CREDIT: ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY