Following a busy offseason, the fans were grateful to finally be able to turn their attention to how the Black and Yellow would fare on the pitch, and the anticipation for the entire week came to a head as the team’s watch party took place at Baker and Brewer.
As for the team itself, there were starts for Rennico Clarke alongside Leland Archer at center back, who, along with Logan Gdula was handed a start on his debut. Angelo Kelly was beside Romario Piggott, whilst up front, eventual goalscorer Lewis was lined up beside Arthur Bosua up front, while Dante Marini was the captain in the absence of Jarad van Schaik, who was listed amongst the subs.
As early as the first minute, Lewis looked to play in Dante Marini with a cheeky defense-splitting through ball, but there was just a little bit too much touch on the pass, and it went through to the ‘keeper Ben Lundgaard.
In what was a very open first ten minutes, Amir Bashti found Jack Gurr wide open on the overlap, but as Battery goalkeeper Phil Breno came out of his area to try and cut down the angle, Gurr would toe poke the ball past the far post.
A Zeiko Lewis shot from the corner of the area looked to be the first Black and Yellow chance to threaten, but the ball went wide of the near post.
The Battery had their first corner kick on 23′, but it went through the six yard box and out for a throw in.
Another corner three minutes later was met at the back post by full back Kyle Nelson, but his header went over the bar.
Logan Gdula was booked after 41 minutes, that led to an Atlanta free kick that was headed over the bar from Bradley Kamden-Fewo.
Phil Breno was forced into a flying save from an Amir Bashti on 43′, as the midfielder hit a curling effort from distance that the shot stopper was able to tip onto the bar and over for a corner.
The ensuing corner found Phillip Goodrum at the front post, but his flick on went wide of Breno’s goal.
So, at half time, the scores were tied. Both teams had their chances, but neither could find the composure in front of goal to break the deadlock. Neither side found it easy to possess the ball on the whole, which was surely a point of contention in both locker rooms at the break.
The first real chance of the second half didn’t come until after the hour mark, when Zeiko Lewis would make his way into the box and look to find space using a stepover, before looking to cross. The cross, however, was adjudged to have been blocked by the arm of an Atlanta defender, prompting the referee to point to the spot.
Lewis, who was the Black and Yellow’s leading goalscorer in 2019, would step up, and with a stuttering run up, sent the goalkeeper the other way, and put the ball into the right of the net.
It was a goal the game needed, and the Battery had it. Something to hold onto, and less than a half an hour to defend it.
And then, with 20 minutes left, Lewis nearly had a second. He received a pass from the right and created room for himself, but his shot back across goal from outside the box was an easy save for the ‘keeper.
With seven minutes left and the game as stretched as it had been all day, Atlanta had a corner that was not cleared first time, eventually falling to Lamin Jawneh who would fire over the bar.
The Battery struggled to keep their foot on the ball in the last few minutes, and they kept conceding corners before the 88th minute, when again the ball wasn’t cleared, and goalkeeper Phil Breno looked to be in trouble as the ball dropped into a good position to shoot, but an effort was fired over the bar.
And that was how the match ended. The Battery walked away with the three points in what was a hard fought game from both sides.
With the win, the Battery did in one game what it took them nearly two months to do last term, having won an away game. The new era begins with three games away from home, and so getting a monkey off their back what was something of a tough task for the Black and Yellow in 2019 was the perfect start.
The Battery next face Birmingham Legion on Sunday, March 15th. Kick off is set for 5PM.
TOP IMAGE: GOALKEEPER PHIL BRENO MARSHALLS THE PLAYERS IN FRONT OF HIM. CHARLESTON BATTERY/ATLANTA UNITED PHOTO