The Charleston Battery prevailed by a score of 2-0 over rivals Charlotte Independence on Sunday afternoon.
After a fairly open start, it was Ian Svantesson who opened the scoring after 21 minutes, capitalizing on a deflected effort by Romario Piggott that fell to the striker inside the six yard box, and Svantesson applied the finish to put the home side in front, before Zeiko Lewis would provide insurance with a little over quarter of an hour to go with a spectacular one touch curling effort into the opposite top corner.
Both teams provided an interesting opening 20 minutes, and it was certainly a scrappy start for both teams, and early on, Enzo Martinez would play creator for the game’s first two chances, both falling to Dominic Oduro.
First, the pair would combine at the top of the box as Martinez would lay off to Oduro, who forced Joe Kuzminsky to cover his far post, but the effort went just wide.
And then, Martinez would slide in Oduro on 17′, as the forward beat the offside trap to go in 1-on-1 with Kuzminsky, but the ‘keeper stayed big and would smother the effort at his near post.
After 21′ came a chance at the other end, with Romario Piggott picking up the ball from midfield on the right, and after a minute’s hesitation to show a pass for the onrushing Obi Woodbine, would instead fire a shot toward goal that took a deflection off the leg of a defender in blue, but would fall fortuitously for Ian Svantesson, who took a touch and shot as he was falling to open the scoring from close range.
It was a scrappy goal, but the Battery weren’t complaining as they found themselves 1-0 up.
Ten minutes later, Piggott and Svantesson were combining again, this time Piggott getting to the byline before playing Svantesson in the middle, but he would put the effort wide from close range.
And that was how the first half ended. The frantic, open start was calmed once Svantesson’s opener came, as the Battery went in at the break with the lead.
Svantesson again was creating chances, when on 58′, the striker stood up his man on the inside edge of the box before an excellent deft turn created space for him to get the ball across, but no one was there to finish the chance.
Shortly after the hour mark, the goalscorer would be replaced by Arthur Bosua, surely pleased with his day’s work, doing well to control the ball and bring players in while keeping possession for his side.
On 62′ the home side would struggle to clear the ball out of their penalty area, as a bit of pinball would eventually fall to Mark Hill, but his effort went wide.
And then, two minutes later, the Battery would earn a free kick roughly 20 yards from goal after Vincenzo Candela was taken down outside the area. It was Candela, and also Zeiko Lewis, who looked to be at the controls, with Lewis placing the ball, and Candela also hovering over the ball. Eventually Lewis would take, forcing a sublime save to match an equally good effort that rose over the wall and dipped at the last minute before Brandon Miller in goal would stretch his way to the bottom corner to tip it around the post.
But Lewis wasn’t done. On 71′, the Battery would earn a throw in level with the Charlotte box as Obi Woodbine served the ball in to the winger who took a touch on the turn just inside the area, looked up and fired a curling effort into the opposite top corner to double his side’s lead.
It was an absolutely stunning strike, which the ‘keeper got a hand to, but couldn’t keep it out as Lewis gave the fans a serious contender for goal of the week.
The second goal didn’t mean that Charlotte were out of it, and the visitors continued storming forward, and with just under quarter of an hour to go, a succession of corners would eventually fall inside the Battery penalty area, leading to a mad scramble where the hosts would have to clear the ball not once, but twice off the line before it went out for a goal kick.
Jay Bolt would have to be replaced by Angelo Kelly in the late goings with an apparent injury, as he was helped to the sideline by training staff on the opposite side of the field.
With 10 minutes to go, the visitors would earn another corner, which would be dealt with by the Battery defense and away.
And that was how it finished. The Battery picked up a much needed three points against a big rival being back at home, and kept a vital clean sheet to top it off. All round, it was a good day at the office for the Black and Yellow.
The Battery next face Bethlehem Steel away from home on April 13, with kick off scheduled for 7:30.
TOP IMAGE: ZEIKO LEWIS CELEBRATES SCORING THE BATTERY’S SECOND GOAL OF THE EVENING. CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY