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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.




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