Saturday’s 1-0 loss to New York Red Bulls II meant that the Charleston Battery were eliminated from the USL Playoffs at the first hurdle.
The Black and Yellow, whose fourth place Eastern Conference finish meant that the match was played at home, couldn’t get anything rolling in the early minutes before a curling effort from Tom Barlow midway through the first half would prove to be the game winner.
Despite the result, the home side did create their fair share of chances, the first coming after just eight minutes, when Obi Woodbine served a cross in for Gordon Wild, but he couldn’t get power behind his headed effort, which went over the bar.
Woodbine was then the architect of a chance again five minutes later, but his shot from distance went high over the bar.
But then, a moment of brilliance from Barlow would begin to separate the sides. A cross field ball from midfield was taken down by the striker, who created room for himself before curling an effort from full on 25 yards into the net.
The Battery could be guilty of not stepping to a striker who already scored a hat trick against them in August, but take nothing away from the effort, which was a great finish.
The Battery were very nearly quick to respond though, a 28th minute free kick flashing across the face of goal before going out over the endline.
After the half hour mark, Angelo Kelly went on the break and would eventually find Woodbine, who then shifted the ball to Gordon Wild, but his shot was wide of the target.
Jay Bolt would storm down the left on 39′ before pulling back for Wild, but his shot would force the ‘keeper into his first real save down to his left, before a corner would be cleared. There were shouts of handball from the Battery faithful, but nothing was given.
In the two minutes of added time at the end of the first half, the Battery would have perhaps the best chance of the game. A break from Nico Rittmeyer would find the feet of Wild again, but he would toe poke the shot wide.
It was a frustrating half for the home side, who found themselves down, but not out. Though if they had any chance of finding themselves in the next round, they would have to convert their opportunities.
But it could’ve gotten worse for the Black and Yellow just shortly after halftime.
A give and go at the top of the box would result in a shot that left Joe Kuzminsky helpless, and but for the crossbar, the Battery would’ve found themselves in an even deeper hole.
On 63′, Gordon Wild would again be at the center of things when he connected with a cross at the edge of the six yard box, but his shot went straight into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Wild would have an effort saved on 73’, again on the counter, but the ensuing throw in would go nowhere.
Second half sub Ian Svantesson would then connect with a cross from Tah Brian Anunga, but his header was saved easily.
And that’s how it finished. The Battery had a host of chances, but just couldn’t seem to get it going in front of goal, and paid the price for their poor start.
The 2018 season ended quicker than we would’ve liked, but thank you to all our sponsors and readers for a great year. We hope to see you soon.
TOP IMAGE: GORDON WILD CREATED THE BULK OF THE BATTERY’S CHANCES, BUT COULDN’T CONVERT AS HIS SIDE LOST 1-0 TO GO OUT OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS. ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY