It was eerily similar to Friday for the Battery, but this time they were on the right side of the result as they came away 3-2 winners in Harrisburg on Monday night. Romario Williams, Forrest Lasso and Austin Savage were on the scoresheet, cancelling out a Paul Wilson brace and giving the Battery their first away win of the year.
The Battery started off quite well, and began play quickly before an early shot went high over the bar, but the game plan was obviously to catch the Islanders off guard with a quick start.
It was Chris Tsonis’ first start in the Black and Yellow, and on eight minutes, he was sought out by a Dante Marini cross, but his shot was high and wide.
An Islanders free kick was put behind for a corner by Odisnel Cooper on 13′, who punched the kick clear, and Danny DaPrima‘s shot from the rebound went well over.
On 18, a cross into the middle for the Battery was headed down, but no one was there in a Battery shirt, and the ensuing counter had to be snuffed out.
But on 24’, the deadlock was broken. A long ball by Maikel Chang found Romario Williams, who did well to sell his defender and set himself up for a shot, which was dispatched into the back of the net to open the scoring.
However, the goal seemed to give the home side a bit of a wake up call, and almost from the next attack on 27′, Jose Barril‘s long ball took a bounce to beat the last defender, giving Paul Wilson a simple finish to even the scores again.
The Battery had done well to earn the lead, but will certainly feel they could have done better for the equalizer.
On 31’, Tsonis went down after being played through by full back Emmanuel Adjetey, as he collided with the ‘keeper, but both players were able to continue.
Jose Barril was having himself a game with the long balls in the first 45, with Aaron Wheeler latching on with a half an hour gone, looking for someone to knock it onto, but the ball only found a Battery boot, which cleared part way before another DaPrima shot went high over the bar.
And then, three minutes before half time, the Battery edged in front again. It was from a free kick earned by Dante Marini, in a very enticing position for Maikel Chang, who wafted the ball in for Shawn Ferguson, and he kept it alive for a waiting Forrest Lasso, whose header went off the post and in.
In the shape of things, the half time lead for the visitors was probably deserved, given that even as the game opened up, the Battery created well enough in terms of chances, but as with the goal from Wilson, it was the Islanders that could have felt sore, giving a goal away so close to the break.
The lead again, would not last though, as the Islanders came out with one thing on their minds. And it was them who created the first chances of the second half, getting in a few headers, but nothing to really trouble Odisnel Cooper in the Battery goal.
But shortly before the hour mark, a giveaway in midfield fell to Jose Barril, who launched another long ball into Wilson, who beat his man for pace to the pass and calmly finished with a cheeky little chip over the onrushing Cooper to even the score again.
And things could have gotten worse on 56, with Jose Barril wanting to get his name on the scoresheet himself, after he was played in on the right, and started a little give-and-go, before aiming a shot at Cooper, which he got down well to save with his legs to keep the Battery from going behind.
With an hour gone, a dangerous cross fell inside the box for Harrisburg, but nobody could get a touch on it, and the Battery would clear away.
As the game seemed to go on, the Islanders were growing more and more into the match, with every second ball seemingly falling the way of the home side, and the Battery were clearly getting frustrated.
But after 70 minutes, a Battery counter made its way squarely into the penalty area, and it looked as though Marini might have been taken down, but the referee decided not to point to the spot, and play continued.
And three minutes later, Chris Tsonis’ arduous night would be up, as he was replaced by Austin Savage. Tsonis did well in flashes, but was marshalled well by the Harrisburg defense for most of the evening.
And with 10 minutes to go, it was again Maikel Chang at the controls for a free kick just about as similar in position to his set piece in the first half, but a little further back. The ball was played deftly low toward the front post, and it was Savage, the substitute, who got the crucial flick on, just enough to guide it past the ‘keeper and give the Black and Yellow the lead once again.
Unlike the first half, Harrisburg could be aggrieved, as the goal had come slightly against the run of play, but the Battery had been unlucky in recent weeks, to not win against Pittsburgh in an overall dominant display, and to lose to Rochester after coming from behind twice, and so a little stroke of luck was just what they needed in this situation.
In stoppage time, Cardel Benbow would have a pop for the home side, but his shot would go over the bar.
And then, seemingly with what might’ve been the last kick, certainly the last chance of the game, Harrisburg earned themselves a penalty. There was a pull on the shirt of one of the Islanders attackers, before Shawn Ferguson went in with a challenge to prevent a Brett Jankouskas cross from reaching its target in the middle, and the referee pointed to the spot. Whether it was for the pull or the challenge, even though there was minimal contact, was heavily debated, but it was Craig Foster who stepped up with the chance to equalize at the death for the home side.
The shot went high and wide over the bar, and Odisnel Cooper was ecstatic over the miss, given that the penalty was controversial in any sense, but the ‘keeper’s antics would earn him a booking.
The stoppage for the penalty meant that there was about an extra 45 seconds added on to the end of added time, but Savage’s goal would indeed prove to be the winner, giving the Battery their first away win of the season, and snapping a four-game winless run.
The Battery return home again on Friday, May 14th, to face Toronto FC II. Kick off is at 7:30.
Top Image: AUSTIN SAVAGE CONTESTS A HEADER IN LAST YEAR’S MEETING WITH FC MONTREAL. Credit Ross Almers Photography