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Battery top Charlotte in year’s first Southern Derby

Attaula Guerra and Victor Mansaray were in the goals as the Battery made it three wins in as many games against the Charlotte Independence on Saturday by a score of 2-0.

The Battery were on top for most of the match, creating most of the chances, and could’ve perhaps shown more for their efforts throughout the match, but the three points and clean sheet, the third in as many games, was definitely the most important thing.

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The Black and yellow earned a free kick in a threatening position with just ten minutes gone, for which defender Henry Kalungi was booked, but Andrew Dykstra would claim for the visitors.

Three minutes later, the Battery would have a succession of corners, but they would lead to nothing as a header at the front post would go over the bar.

The home side continued to press for the go ahead goal, but it wouldn’t be until the half hour mark that they would find their opener.

Gordon Wild would receive the ball on the left side of midfield, and would beat his man with a nice bit of skill before driving into open space down the wing. He would pick his head up on the edge of the box before finding Attaula Guerra on the right. His first touch was poor, the bounce of the ball took it away from him, but he managed to pick the ball up in a good position controlling well before picking his head up and firing into the bottom corner.

It was a deserved lead, yet one the Battery were made to wait for. The goal came from their first shot on target, which was a bit surprising given the way the game had gone.

Then, a minute before half time, Jay Bolt on the opposite side would use a bit of skill of his own to burst past a defender into the open space, but Dykstra would come to claim.

A quick counter would begin and soon lead to a Charlotte corner, but it would be cleared away as the half-time whistle blew.

The Battery continued to put more pressure on in looking for a second after the break, with Charlotte having to come out and attack in search of an equalizer, thus creating space for the Battery on the counter.

On 57′, Tah Brian Anunga would once again attack down the flank before finding a cross in. Though eventually headed away, Vincenzo Candela would come crashing in on the edge of the box to fire a volley just wide.

Charlotte began to come into the game a bit more as the match reached its conclusion as they pushed for a late equalizer, but all that changed when Tah Brian Anunga was pulled back by Henry Kalungi, who was already on a yellow. Play would continue as the referee played advantage, which eventually led to a shot that was saved by Dykstra from substitute Ian Svantesson, but the ref would revisit the incident and give Kalungi his second yellow and send him off.

And then, on 86′, came the moment to seal the match, as Svantesson would win the ball in the air, playing in Kotaro Higashi,, who would look up, but not find an angle for a shot, but would be patient enough for the onrushing Victor Mansaray, who would calmly pass the ball into the net for 2-0.

The goal took the pressure off the Battery and finally gave them some breathing room as Mansaray went to celebrate with the fans, and as the smoke cleared, the three points were in sight.

The final whistle blew with Joe Kuzminski and his defense earning their third clean sheet, which, for a goalkeeper who just made his debut to start the three game run, is a pretty impressive feat.

The Battery next host the Bethlehem Steel on Saturday May 12th. Kickoff is at 7:00, and you can watch the match on MyTV Charleston, or stream on ESPN+.

TOP IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA CELEBRATES THE OPENING GOAL IN THE YEAR’S FIRST SOUTHERN DERBY AGAINST CHARLOTTE. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOS.

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