The Charleston Battery and North Carolina FC gained a point each in the year’s first Southern Derby as the match finished 1-1.
Ian Svantesson‘s goal midway through the second half, but Tommy McCabe connected sweetly with a poor clearance deep into stoppage time, sending the ball past Joe Kuzminsky in goal to draw the teams level and secure a point for the hosts.
It was a scrappy game, with both sides fighting for everything, and that didn’t stop for the entirety of the match, as they would trade some good early chances. but the home side would earn the first clear cut opportunity.
On 24′, Some good build up play would fall to Marios Lomis, who would run through the middle but eventually put an effort right at Kuzminsky.
But then, two minutes later, Austin Da Luz would misplay a free kick right into the path of Zeiko Lewis, who stole in, but would hit the post before the ball was cleared away.
After half an hour, Ben Speas would loft a ball into the box over the head of a defender, which Lomis was able to latch onto from the top of the six yard box, but his chipped attempt on the volley went high over the bar.
After 37′, Jarad van Schaik would connect on an in swinging ball from the left from a corner, but his header down would be straight at Alex Tambakis, who was facing his old team, now in goal for North Carolina.
And that was how the first half ended. Both teams created chances, but the deadlock was yet to be broken. Both teams looked forward to the break as a chance to get in and rethink their strategies for the second 45.
There were half chances for both sides, one created by Ben Speas for D.J. Taylor shortly after the break and a volley from Obi Woodbine following the hour mark, but both efforts went wide of goal.
And then, following a breakaway on 69′, Zeiko Lewis would play Ian Svantesson who timed his run well at the top of the box, and would go clean through before slotting home and giving the Battery a one goal lead.
Finally, with the deadlock broken, the game could settle down, having previously been sloppy and a little bit too physical, but both teams gave as good as they got, and the first moment of real quality in the game fell Svantesson’s way, and luckily for the Battery, he took it.
But the hosts were never out of it. They grew into the game more, and on 76′, would create a corner which initially was taken short, which looked somewhat dangerous, but Kuzminsky would claim well before any danger came.
Later on, it was Kuzminsky again who was called into action, this tie getting a finger to a cross that looked like causing trouble. The ‘keeper failed to fully deal with the effort but the intervention took the speed off the ball for a man arriving at the back post, who miscontrolled it as it went out for a goal kick.
But in stoppage time, there was a miscontrolled clearance that went over Joe Kuzminsky’s bar. The set piece was taken short, but would hit the arm of substitute Angelo Kelly, as the referee pointed for a free kick.
The initial cross was dealt with, but not fully cleared, as Tommy McCabe would send the ball flying in on the volley from the top of the box.
On the whole, the goal was probably deserved, but coming so late came as a shock to the visitors. It was a tough one to take, as the Battery only had time to kick off before the final whistle blew, and the points were shared.
It will be looked at as a hard fought point, but the late goal makes it hard for the visitors, who gave a lot in the game, but won’t be bringing home all three points from their first away trip of the year.
The Battery return home on Sunday, April 7th, facing the Charlotte Independence. Kick off is scheduled for 3:30
PHOTO CREDT CHARLESTON BATTERY