The Charleston Battery continued their winning ways after goals from Attaula Guerra and Gordon Wild were enough to see off the Bethlehem Steel on Saturday.
The game was at a stop-start pace for most of the first half before Gordon Wild’s ball across the six yard box left Guerra in on goal to slot home just before the break before Wild himself would add a second early in the second half.
The clean sheet was spoiled just past the hour mark as a penalty was given for a handball, but Joe Kuzminsky produced a key save right at the end at his front post to help his team to all three points.
The first real chance came with about a quarter of an hour gone, when Skylar Thomas was forced to make a last ditch challenge from a great cross through the middle of the box in front of the Battery goal. Thomas got there, but the flag would’ve gone up for offside had the ball been stuck in the net by the visitors.
After 25 minutes, Jay Bolt would be replaced by Nico Rittmeyer after the wingback went down following a challenge. Bolt was able to limp off, but there has been no word as to the seriousness of the injury.
Shortly after the half hour mark, Joe Kuzminsky would be forced into a save as a header down led to a shot on the run from outside the box, but the ‘keeper would snuff it out.
And then, with 44 minutes played, some good build up through solid team play left Attaula Guerra with Gordon Wild free to his right, who played the pass and continued the run before receiving the ball in the six yard box and slotting home for 1-0.
The goal was huge after it threatened to go in at the break deadlocked, thanks in part to fouls being called in midfield and the game not really finding its footing, but the Battery finally had the opener the game perhaps needed.
Coming out of the break it was then important for the Black and Yellow to stay tight and maybe look for a second, and they would eventually find one.
A 1-2 between Guerra and Naveal Hackshaw, whose marauding run up the near touchline was the catalyst for the whole move, led to Hackshaw playing in a brilliant ball toward the backpost, and storming in came Gordon Wild, who powered a volley into the roof of the net for 2-0.
After such a slow start the second goal being so quickly behind the first was quite a welcome surprise for the home side, but they knew they would have to remain on their toes to see the game out.
And after 65′, the seed of doubt would be planted. The referee would give a penalty for handball in the box. The ball would be controlled and flicked up into the air by an attacker looking to create space, and it looked as if the ball would then be cleared before the referee pointed to the spot. The first instinct was to go with a call on Hackshaw, who looked to have stuck his leg up going to clear the ball, before the referee gave the signal for handball. Confusing as it was, Derrick Jones would step up and give the visitors a lifeline with 25 minutes to go.
A free kick for the visitors on 77′ flashed just wide of Kuzminsky’s far post as they threw more and more behind finding an equalizer.
An 83rd minute corner was taken short by Bethlehem before a shot from distance would go wide of goal as the pressure became a bit tense, the crowd trying to will the home side over the line.
And on 92′ came the best chance. Joe Kuzminsky would be sent sprawling into a kick save to deny a chance at the far post from a pull back along the six yard box for Bethlehem, before another chance was fashioned that the Battery ‘keeper held onto, shortly before the whistle blew.
The win continues an upward trend for the Battery, who now turn their attentions to Wednesday, May 16th and the beginning of their US Open Cup campaign against Tormenta FC. Kick off is at 7PM.
TOP IMAGE: GORDON WILD ADDS A GOAL TO HIS ASSIST AS HE HELPED THE BATTERY TO A 2-0 WIN SATURDAY. PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY