In a result that truthfully helped neither team, the Charleston Battery and Birmingham Legion shared the spoils following a 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Coming into the match, it was one of the most mouthwatering fixtures of the weekend, with both teams level on points coming in, vying for the final playoff spot in the USL’s Eastern Conference, with Birmingham ahead on Goal Difference.
The teams were only able to force five shots on target between them, none of which troubled either ‘keeper, though the home side had more of the possession and looked brightest throughout the game.
Despite this, it will most likely be the Battery who are the happiest of the two sides with the point, with Attaula Guerra receiving a red card for a second bookable offense for putting his hands to an opponent’s face after 59 minutes.
Kyle Culbertson fashioned the first chance of the evening after 18 minutes through a pass to Kasim Prosper, who couldn’t generate power on the effort and forced Joe Kuzminsky into an easy save.
Just a minute later, the Battery would create an opportunity, as Zeiko Lewis would switch the play over to AJ Paterson on the left. The full back would take a touch before winding up and firing, but he couldn’t keep the effort down, and it sailed over the bar.
A Battery corner after 21′ was flicked on across the face of goal at the near post, but Tah Brian Anunga would blaze his shot over the bar from close range.
Down the other end, the hosts had a corner on 24′ that was initially cleared away, but a shot back in would not trouble Kuzminsky in goal.
Perhaps the best chance of Birmingham’s first half came soon after, when a Birmingham corner was played in from the right and headed toward goal from close range, leaving Kuzminsky stranded, but it would sail over the bar and out for a Goal Kick.
On 37′, Kyle Nelson had a chance to put his own side in front, connecting well with a snapped header on the end of a cross from a Jarad van Schaik free kick, but the effort went just wide.
Kasim Prosper would wind up a shot from distance on 42′, but Joe Kuzminsky was equal to it, and that would eventually lead to the half time break.
To that point, neither team had done enough to set themselves apart. The home side had most of the possession, but couldn’t break down a stubborn Battery defense that looked comfortable as long as they kept the ball in front of them.
Just as the second half looked set to kick off, a lightning delay postponed the match. It took around about an hour before the teams returned to the pitch, now in near downpour conditions, but the second half got underway despite the wetness.
Attaula Guerra was sent off for a second bookable offense, having received his first yellow just a few minutes earlier, on 58′. The striker raised an arm to his marker having already earned a foul, with the marker continuing with the pulling of his shirt after the whistle blew. Though it was in frustration, it was a needless booking from the striker, and the Battery were down to 10 men.
A Battery free kick on the hour mark looked dangerous,once again being played in by Jarad van Schaik. The ball was played in low at the near post and skidded off the wet surface, which gave the ‘keeper something to think about, but he was able to get behind it, and the chance was gone.
Kasim Prosper once again created a chance on 72′, latching onto a ball on the edge of the D just outside the box, but sending a low drive straight into the arms of Kuzminsky.
Substitute Dante Marini would play a corner in from the left on 86′, which initially went over the head of everyone, though Kyle Nelson kept the ball alive and was able to send it back across goal, but no one was there to supply the finish.
And then, on 88′, Mikey Lopez would connect with a header following a corner for Birmingham, but he was unable to keep the effort on target.
The five minutes that followed the end of normal time were not able to separate the teams either, and eventually, the final whistle blew.
The result, in truth, helped neither team. The Battery, however, will be happier with the point, having gone down to 10 men away from home with half an hour to play, but this would’ve been counted as the best chance for them to solidify their playoff hopes, having come up against the direct rival for the postseason.
The Battery have three games remaining of 2019, the first of which comes on Sunday, October 13th, against Loudon United. Kick off is at 2PM.
FEATURED IMAGE: A SHOT COMES IN FROM THE BATTERY IN A 3-1 WIN EARLIER IN THE SEASON FOR THE BLACK AND YELLOW. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO