The Charleston Battery and North Carolina FC couldn’t be separated on Saturday night, as the two teams were made to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw.
While the first half was a bit lethargic from both sides, they each would have close moments in the first half, with Kyle Bekker going closest for the home side, and Attaulla Guerra going closest for the visitors. The second half was a much more open affair, though it was the hosts that had the better of the chances. Despite this, the Black and Yellow were also frustrated by their lack of finishing and maybe felt they could’ve stolen the points themselves.
It was Austin Da Luz for NCFC that had the first chance, when on 5′, he had Joe Kuzminsky scrambling back toward his goal after a shot from distance on the spin.
Nico Rittmeyer retained his place after a brace in last week’s win over Richmond, and he would create the Battery’s first effort, pulling the ball back after a run down the right side to find Kotaro Higashi, but the winger would lean back as he hit the shot and it rose high over the bar.
It was on 27′ that Attaula Guerra went just wide of Alex Tambakis’ far post, when good build up play found the Battery striker in space at the top of the box, and he was able to turn quickly to get the shot away, but the effort went behind for a goal kick.
Just after the half hour mark, Kuzminsky was forced to save as a cross from the right was headed down into the path of Kyle Bekker, who tried the acrobatic scissor kick to reach the ball just behind him, but he didn’t connect right and Kuzminsky was there to make the save.
Tah Brian Anunga‘s speculative shot from all of 40 yards after 38’ would rise high over the bar, but the midfielder had no one around him to close him down, and he would’ve felt the shot was warranted.
Coming out of the break, both teams loosened up a little bit after the break, which made it easier for either side to create chances in the hopes of securing all three points.
And the first of note came from the Battery. A corner was cleared, but Neveal Hackshaw was there to pick up the pieces and serve the ball back in, but it would just be out of the reach of the out-stretched Guerra.
A save was forced at the other end, when Kuzminsky was called into action to save a header following a cross from the left.
Steven Miller’s shot from distance a short while later would clatter onto the crossbar and be swept clear for a corner by Hackshaw, though the ensuing corner led to nothing.
Attaula Guerra would get free down the left just past the hour mark for the visitors, but his run led him too wide and the lack of support in the middle left the chance begging.
On 66′, the Battery had a dangerous free kick positioned just outside the box, which forced Tambakis to save but lacked the power to challenge him to the right of his goal.
The Battery would make their first sub of the evening on 70′, bringing on Jay Bolt for Obi Woodbine. Bolt and Woodbine have been swapping the right wing back role, and while Woodbine brings the experience, Bolt has impressed with his work rate and quality on both sides of the ball.
They would follow up that sub five minutes later, with Gordon Wild replacing Nico Rittmeyer. Rittmeyer wasn’t able to follow up last week’s performance with something similar, but was smart with the ball and drove at defenders. With a quarter of an hour gone, the time seemed perfect to bring on someone of Wild’s ability to take advantage of tired legs.
Jarad van Schaik would go on a run up the left and play a ball into the path of Kotaro Higashi on the right, but his effort would be blocked down by a sliding defender and cleared. Battery players were looking toward the linesman for a handball after the ball looked to have hit the defender’s trailing arm, but nothing was given.
Two NCFC chances from set pieces three minutes apart in the last ten minutes, one from a corner, and one from a free kick were similarly dealt with by the Battery defense as we headed closer to full time with the scores deadlocked.
Another Kyle Bekker effort was saved by Kuzminsky on 89′, who looked the most likely to dig deep in the final minutes.
Their best chance then came two minutes into stoppage time, when Marios Lomis connected with a cross, but his header down went wide of Kuzminsky’s goal.
And that’s the way things finished. Both sides would share the points in their second meeting of the year. They face each other one more time this season, when the Battery welcome them to Charleston in September.
The Battery’s next match is on Wednesday, August 8th against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Kick Off is at 7:30.
TOP IMAGE: TAH BRIAN ANUNGA FIGHTS OFF A MARKER IN SATURDAY’S 0-0 DRAW. NORTH CAROLINA FC PHOTO