The Charleston Battery and North Carolina FC weren’t to be separated as Attaula Guerra‘s goal midway through the second half was cancelled out with nine minutes to go as the two sides shared the points in a 1-1 draw.
Things were frantic in the early goings, and Joe Kuzminski was forced into an early save when a long ball was kept in on the edge of the box and forced the ‘keeper down to his left at the near post as a shot looked to catch him out.
A 12th minute shot from all of 50 yards by Austin Da Luz left Kuzminski scrambling, but he was able to palm the effort over the bar at the last minute to keep things scoreless.
Five minutes later, Kuzminski was called into action again, though this time made an easier run of things as he was able to collect a dangerous ball from the right as it bounced across the face of goal.
On 27′, some good build up play led to a dangerous ball across from the left that went across the face at the other end, though he was shaping up to shoot, but the ball ended up being of the interesting shot/cross variety and could’ve ended up anywhere. However, no one was there to pick up the pieces and the chance was gone.
Then, after 29’, a misplayed Skylar Thomas clearance bounced off the legs of the defender and invitingly onto the feet of an onrushing player in blue, though Thomas was able to collect himself and get back goal-side in time to clear for a corner before any immediate danger was raised, which was also dealt with.
On 39′, Attaula Guerra found himself on the ball and leading a counter attack, going to his left with a well timed ball for Neviel Hackshaw, who set up a give and go with Nico Rittmeyer before finding Guerra again on the drag back, but the striker’s shot was over the bar.
And so, the first half ended scoreless, but not without chances for other sides, though the game felt as if it was in need of a goal to kick things off.
And Nico Rittmeyer looked to provide that, when on 47′, his run down the left ended with him trying to catch former Battery ‘keeper Alex Tambakis out at his near post, and he didn’t have his feet right, but would produce an impressive two-handed save to push the ball out of danger when it seemed like it was behind him.
Good build up play on 57’ led Angelo Kelly to the top of the box as he found Neviel Hackshaw on the overlap at the left edge of the box, but his shot was skied over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, Leland Archer would have to replace Skylar Thomas after Thomas collided with his goalkeeper, Kuzminski and came off worse for wear after the goalkeeper’s knee connected with his tailbone. Archer lacks the experience that Thomas does after only earning his debut a few weeks ago, but was a like for like replacement as a ball playing central defender.
And it was on 63′ that the game would find its opener, as a well executed high press would be employed by Angelo Kelly, who won the ball back as Tambakis played a goal kick short and played it on to Tah Brian Anunga, who picked his head up before picking out Attaula Guerra on the overlap, taking a touch to separate himself from the defender before slotting home to the ‘keeper’s left for 1-0.
Guerra’s ninth goal of the season was a team high and took him back to the top of the scoring chart in the east and came at an important time for the visitors, but they would know they had to hold on.
Daniel Rios, however, would have a chance at the other end as he connected on a header from a cross from the right, but would put the shot over the bar.
A bouncing ball across from the left on 76′ would cause trouble for the Battery, wreaking havoc as it rolled tantalizingly through the area, but ultimately out for a goal kick.
On 80’, Anunga would lose the ball in his own half in what could’ve been given as a foul, and the counter that followed earned the home side a corner. The initial ball was cleared, but was reset and crossed in by Nelson Flores and redirected past Kuzminski at the front post by Rios.
The Battery players looked to be complaining about the potential foul on Anunga, and may have had a grievance, but could also be guilty of not playing to the whistle on the counter attack that followed.
It was another second half sub in the form of Jay Bolt that nearly gave the Battery the lead back when a good cross by Rittmeyer was met by the wingback from a header, but the effort was saved by Tambakis.
The Battery then had a dangerous looking free kick that bounced its way to Guerra, whose shot was barely deflected behind off the legs of a defender, though the corner led to nothing.
And at the very tail end of the game, the home side looked to catch their opponents with numbers up field as they quickly got the ball up to the danger area, with Rios taking a shot that went off the post and pin-balled its way through the area, resulting in a number of failed attempts by both teams to get a foot on the ball, before the Battery were able to clear and the final whistle would blow.
And so, it was another frustrating night at the office for the Battery. The lack of someone to really take chances has proven a hinderance, with that being a major factor in not being able to close games out. The defense, for the most part, has remained solid throughout this barren run, but are always going to be under pressure if the goals aren’t going in on the other end of the pitch due to opposition still being alive in matches.
They return home on Wednesday, July 11 looking to change their, taking on Indy Eleven. Kick off is at 7PM.
TOP IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA, (RIGHT) SCORED HIS 9TH GOAL OF THE SEASON IN TONIGHT’S DRAW VS NORTH CAROLINA FC. ROSS ALMERS PHOTO