Mistakes are what would be the Battery’s demise on Saturday, as they lost to the Charlotte Independence away from home on Saturday night. The Independence would take a two goal lead into half time, before a third was added halfway into the second half. The Battery would mount a comeback, with Romario Williams and Justin Portillo on the scoresheet, but the uphill battle was too much for the Black and Yellow, who fell to their first loss of the season.
The Battery started off well, with Obi Woodbine sending in one of his trademark long throws as early as the 10th minute, but the ball pinged around before finding the grateful arms of Cody Mizell in goal for Charlotte.
Alex Tambakis for the Battery was forced into his first save of the evening after 12 minutes, when a shot from range by Caleb Calvert would test the Greek goalkeeper.
It was as if Calvert’s effort spurred his team on, as the ensuing corner driven in by Enzo Martinez was met by Brian Brown, however, his shot was wide.
Calvert scuffed one a few minutes later, when Tambakis would come out of his goal to intercept a cross, but hit his clearance straight into the striker, whose shot on the turn went hopelessly over the bar as it was hit with too much power.
On 18, Brown was put through by Martinez for Charlotte, but Shawn Ferguson would clear. The ensuing corner wouldn’t pay off either, and was cleared.
But in the 24th minute, things would get a bit sticky for the visitors as Yan Ekra would play a long ball forward into the Charlotte box. The ball was cut out by defender Ferguson, but Enzo Martinez would steal the ball back for the home side, before being fouled in the box by Ferguson. The referee would point to the spot, and it was Martinez who would dispatch the penalty to open the scoring.
It was no more than Charlotte deserved after being the better team in the early going, and the penalty was the right decision from the referee.
Despite this, a penalty was given at the other end after Romario Williams would have latched onto a Justin Portillo free kick just three minutes later. However, the Battery striker was adjudged to be offside by the linesman, and given that the offside ruling came first, and that the linesman had a better vantage point along the line, the referee reversed his decision and gave a free kick to Charlotte.
And the home side would capitalize on 31, when Martinez, who was having himself a field day down the right for Charlotte, got a cross in to Caleb Calvert, whose shot went off the bar, before Brian Brown would pick up the pieces and shoot on the turn to double the lead.
The offside was slightly dubious perhaps, but again, Charlotte had been the better side before the goal, and were beneficiaries of their good play rather than anything else.
And so, the teams would go in at half time with Charlotte deservedly in front, with the Battery knowing that their second half performance would need to improve.
Lewis Hilton was a halftime substitution for Charlotte, having made sub appearances in three of the last four games, replacing Jun Davidson in midfield.
After the break, Charlotte had some decent passing that led to a cross by Joel Johnson, but Tambakis was there to collect.
The Battery’s first shot of the night wasn’t until the second half, and it was by Attaulah Guerra, who latched on to a long pass by Emmanuel Adjetey, before turning his man inside, but he could get no power on the effort and it went harmlessly into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Shots were then deflected again, one by Zach Prince and another by Quinton Griffith, the latter of which was again into t arms of the ‘keeper, but the Battery were beginning to show signs of life.
But Enzo Martinez would look to change that with a slaloming run past two and three of the Battery’s defenders, but his effort would go wide.
Quinton Griffith would then be replaced by Dante Marini. Griffith, more known these days as a right back, slotted in on the right wing tonight. Marini coming in was a sign that the Battery were going to go for it in the final minutes, as Marini brought pace and trickery to the Battery’s game.
But things would have to get worse before they got better for the visitors. Emmanuel Adjetey initially did well to get himself to a ball inside his own box, before passing to Shawn Ferguson, and the center back would turn, looking to play the ball out. However, his pass had next to no power on it as it looked for a team mate outside the box, and was intercepted by substitute Jorge Herrera, who had time to turn away from his man and get himself into space, firing past Alex Tambakis in the Battery goal to increase the Charlotte lead.
The lead was 3-0, and it looked gone for the away side, but football is a funny game, and the Black and Yellow would continue to attack.
With 18 minutes left, Shawn Ferguson would give away a free kick, which led to a shot by Brian Brown, which Tambakis saved with relative ease.
And on 75 minutes, after a corner by the Battery led to a blocked shot, the Independence would come away with the ball, and an eventual shot by Brian Brown would go wide.
But just a minute later, the Battery had a lifeline. Zach Prince got the ball about 40 yards from goal, and fed Romario Williams, who timed his run to perfection, taking a touch before sliding home to pull one back. The goal was Williams’ third in four, as he continues his decent form on loan from the Montreal Impact.
Brian Brown would have a chance on 82 after beating Emmanuel Adjetey for pace on the right, but he couldn’t get a shot away.
And a minute later, the mountain got a little bit more steep for the Battery, when Zach Prince’s foul in midfield on Jorge Herrera led to a red card. It looked as if Prince had stepped in front of the man, getting the ball, before the man and winning the challenge, but the referee adjudged the midfielder to have gone in with his feet a bit high and the Battery were reduced to ten.
But Romario Williams earned his team a free kick on the wing after holding the ball up well and drawing in his defender. Justin Portillo would take, and it would be headed back across to Dante Marini, who was fouled inside the box, and the referee gave a penalty with five minutes to go.
It was Justin Portillo to step up, and he would dispatch to ensure a tense end to proceedings.
And it was Williams who could’ve been a hero again, after a long ball played in by late sub Connor Sloan, earning his first professional minutes, which Williams would latch onto at the back post early into stoppage time, but his shot would lack power and Mizell would save, ensuring all three points would go the way of Charlotte.
And so, despite even more late drama, it was the Battery’s mistakes that would eventually be their downfall. They next travel to Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday, April 24th. Please note the 3PM Kickoff.