The Charleston Battery defeated Hartford Athletic 2-1 on Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium.
Zeiko Lewis, making his first USL Championship appearance opened the scoring in the 17th minute. The Bermuda international danced around multiple defenders before playing a pass to the feet of Romario Piggott. Piggott flicked a quick ball over the Hartford backline to a sprinting Lewis who controlled the ball beautifully and struck the ball well and hard off the near post to put the Battery up 1-0.
"He brings flair in the final third. He's got a bit of craft and brings something different to our side," head coach Mike Anhaeuser said of the young forward. "It's a fantastic goal that the two of them created (Lewis and Piggott). We look forward to seeing more of those types of goals this season."
Ian Svantesson had an opportunity to double the lead late but couldn't convert. Lewis, who was dangerous on the attack all night, beat a defender down the wing and played in a ball to Svantesson who had the keeper beat but popped it up over the crossbar.
Substitute Dante Marini scored his first goal for the Battery in regular season play after missing the entire 2018 season due to a knee injury. The ball found it's way to Svantesson in the box and the strong forward created a bit of space for a shot. The initial shot was saved by the keeper but the rebound fell to Marini who made no mistake. "It's been a long and tough road, I've fought through it and there have been so many ups and downs along the way. I can't describe what this means for me," Marini said after the match. "When we are home we want to win every game. We have that ability. I think we are good enough to beat anyone who comes here."
Hartford Athletic, who are making their debut in the USL Championship this season, would make things interesting late. A penalty in the 82' minute would cut the lead and force the Battery to see out a chippy final ten minutes. Phil Rasmussen scored the penalty and created a number of chances for Athletic throughout the course of the match.
Charleston will travel to Cary, North Carolina to take on North Carolina FC on March 30th. Hartford Athletic will play their third consecutive road match at Louisville City on March 23rd.
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, van Schaik, Bolt, Mueller, Anunga, Candela, Piggott (Marini 63', goal 73'), Lewis (goal 17', Kelly 74'), Rittmeyer, Svantesson (Bosua 90')
Substitutes: Beebe, Nelson, Paterson, Kelly, Marini, Bosua, Higashi
HARTFORD: Lee, de Wit, David, Jorgensen (Wojcik 84'), Angulo (Steeves 76'), Rasmussen (goal 83' PEN, ), Williams, Brown (Gentile 76'), Lissek, Lyngo
Substitutes: Novotny, DeVoss, Sousa, Steeves, Downs, Gentile, Wojcik