The Charleston Battery stood firm to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Bethlehem Steel on Sunday afternoon.
Both goals were scored in the first half of a match where the win played a large factor, as both goals came on set pieces, a back-post run off a corner by Skylar Thomas leaving the defender unmarked to open the scoring, before Cory Burke would level in first half stoppage time as a corner from the home side caught the wind and wrong-footed Odisnel Cooper, who did well to palm the ball, curling in at the far post, onto the bar, but was unable to claim the rebound.
The home side came out of the blocks the better, and earned their first corner after four minutes, though after some pinballing in the box, it was cleared away to safety.
The pressure continued to mount on the Black and Yellow, when on 10′, Marcus Epps received a long pass from midfield and created space, before bending the ball just wide of Cooper in goal.
The Battery then began to grow into the game, their first corner coming nearly ten minutes later on 19′, yet nothing would come of it.
A few minutes later, Prosper Chiluya and Marcus Epps would combine on a give and go, but Epps’ shot from the pullback would go high over the bar.
In the 23rd minute, Cory Burke would beat Odisnel Cooper to a loose ball before taking a touch around him, but his shot would go wide of the open goal.
The visitors would earn a chance with some good pressing in the 42nd, when Victor Mansaray would intercept an overhit backpass, and would lay the ball off to Attaula Guerra, who would force an acrobatic save from John McCarthy in the Bethlehem goal.
The corner that followed, however, gave him no chance. Wafted toward the back post by Jarad van Schaik, Skylar Thomas would ghost in at the back post for the free header to put the Battery ahead.
But sadly, it wouldn’t last. Jay Bolt would be forced to concede a corner that was taken on the left, and whipped in at Odisnel Cooper’s goal as it caught the wind. Cooper would do well to palm the ball away and onto the bar, but would be helpless as Cory Burke collected and scored the rebound.
And that was how it would be at half-time, with the Battery frustrated they couldn’t keep their lead going into half-time.
But they wouldn’t quite show it as they came out for the second half. They forced the initiative and earned an early corner through Jay Bolt, but it would lead to nothing.
Shortly before the hour mark, Ian Svantesson would receive the ball from Attaula Guerra on the right of the box and spot the ‘keeper off his line, aiming for the far post in an attempt to catch him off guard, but the shot would go wide.
On 70’ Bethlehem would earn a corner that was eventually cleared as the Battery would have to dig deep to earn anything from the match.
Ten minutes later, the Battery tried their own trickery from a corner, but McCarthy would be equal to it.
A pair of Bethlehem corners would be cleared before the last real chance of the game came three minutes came from a Steel free kick, roughly 25 yards from goal, and inviting for either a left or right footer, but it went over the bar.
And that’s the way it ended. The Battery can be proud of a resolute performance after last week’s 5-2 loss, but given the second half performance, would maybe hope for more.
The Battery have a week off from league play this coming week, but will face the Jacksonville Armada in a friendly on April 12th before returning to USL action on April 21st against Penn FC away from home.
FEATURED IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA SHAPES TO SHOOT IN A MATCH AGAINST THE SEEL IN 2017. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY