WILMINGTON, NC – The Charleston Battery defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads 1-0 at Legion Stadium Saturday night. The win was the Battery’s third straight and momentarily moved the team into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Shawn Ferguson’s goal was the difference in the game as Charleston recorded its second straight and fifth shutout of the year. The two Carolina teams spent much of the first half feeling each other out as the ball bounced around the Legion Stadium turf like a pinball. Neither team created much in terms of scoring chances in the run of play.
In a choppy game like the one played Saturday night, set pieces become even more important. Ferguson’s goal came off of a Justin Portillo corner kick in the 33rd minute. The Battery captain ran towards the near post unmarked and flicked Portillo’s driven ball with the outside of his right boot past Wilmington goalkeeper John Smits.
At 6-5, Ferguson typically scores with his head, but the center back caught the Hammerheads’ defenders napping and snuck into the six yard box for an easy finish. The goal was Ferguson’s first of 2016; the assist was Portillo’s third, tying Maikel Chang and Zach Prince for the team-high.
Charleston saw the rest of the game out pretty comfortably as Wilmington failed to put the pieces together in the attacking third. The Hammerheads pressed the Battery in the beginning of the second half, but never really broke down Charleston’s back four. Odisnel Cooper got the start in goal and commanded his penalty area well, punching away the few dangerous crosses Wilmington managed to swing in.
The second half got chippy, as most games between the Carolina rivals do. The referee issued six cards in the second 45 including a red card to Wilmington captain Liam Miller. Miller was sent off in the 78th minute for pulling Dante Marini back as the last man defending a Battery counterattack.
Heviel Cordoves made his first appearance since April 9th in Saturday’s match, entering the game as a substitute in the 73rd minute. The Cuban forward looked good in his first run-out in over a month. Cordoves put a dangerous volley on frame in the 79th minute, forcing Smits to make a good save in order to keep his side in it. Despite Smits’ best efforts, a short-handed Wilmington came up short and the Battery headed home with all three points.
The win moves Charleston to 5-2-3 on the year and into a tie for second place with the New York Red Bulls II on 18 points. NYRBII have played one less game than the Battery and will take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds next week.
Following the win in Wilmington, Charleston will return home to MUSC Health Stadium on 5/28 to take on first-place Louisville City FC. Come out and watch as the Battery attempts to extend its home unbeaten streak to 30 games and win its fourth straight in league play.
Legion Stadium – Wilmington, NC
CHARLESTON BATTERY: Odisnel Cooper, Quinton Griffith, Shawn Ferguson (c) (goal, 33rd), Forrest Lasso, Emmanuel Adjetey, Zach Prince (yellow card, 69th); (Neveal Hackshaw, 80th), Justin Portillo (yellow card, 75th), Ataulla Guerra (Chris Tsonis, 86th), Maikel Chang, Ricky Garbanzo (yellow card, 63rd) (Dante Marini, 70th), Romario Williams (Heviel Cordoves, 73nd)
Unused subs: Alex Tambakis, Austin Savage, Jose Nazareno,
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS: John Smits, Michael Mecham, Peobo De Doue, Liam Miller (c) (red card, 78th), Mael Corboz , Logan Miller (Qudus Lawal, 66th) Ashani Fairclough, Bruno Perone, Austin Martz (Kyle Parker, 88th), Justin Moose (Jeff Michaud, 45th; yellow card, 60th), Casey Townsend (Matthew Barnes-Homer, 64th; yellow card, 67th)
Unused subs: Eric Ati, Zev Taublieb
Top Image: Zach Prince and Peobo De Doue battle for a 50/50 ball in the first half on 5.21.2016