The Charleston Battery found their scoring touch on Friday night on their way to an excellent win over Atlanta United 2 by a score of 3-0.
The Black and Yellow came into the game having endured a frustrating loss on Sunday against Birmingham, but were finally able to turn their chances created into goals on the way to their first victory since USL’s restart.
Captain Jarad van Schaik came into the side at center back after his substitute appearance in Sunday’s loss, while Jesus Ibarra missed the match through injury, as did Mauro Cichero, who also made a sub appearance at the weekend. That gave Nico Rittmeyer a start in a 4-2-3-1, whilst Nicque Daley and Zeiko Lewis often interchanged roles at the top of the formation.
Deshawon Nembhard was booked in the tenth minute, but the ensuing Atlanta free kick failed to beat the first man and was cleared away.
Just a few minutes later, a Romario Piggott through ball was put out for a corner that was eventually cleared for a throw in, That throw was taken quickly and eventually found its way to Angelo Kelly who failed to get anything on his shot.
Seemingly in the same flow of play, Angelo Kelly would be on the end of a bit of fast build up play and take a shot from the right that was saved.
After 20 minutes, Atlanta’s play out of the back broke down as Kelly would be involved, this time stepping forward to intercept a pass, and the Battery were quickly in as Zeiko Lewis laid it into the path of Nicque Daley, who would take a touch and calmly put his side in front.
It was a goal that was coming for the Black and Yellow, but opening the scoring when they failed to take chances in the last match was vital going forward.
And on 27′, Daley could’ve had a brace. A long back pass had the striker convinced he could chase the ball down, and Ben Lundgaard in the Atlanta goal had to be on his toes to clear just in time.
Ten minutes before the break, Nico Rittmeyer was fouled at the top of the box, leading to a Battery free kick with Robbie Crawford at the controls. He went across the ‘keeper with a low shot toward the right bottom corner, but Lundgaard was equal to it enough to tip it around the post.
A poor clearance from the Atlanta defense on 39′ led to a shot wide from Angelo Kelly, who was more involved in the attack than previous games, before the end of the half.
So, the Battery were in front as the two sides went in at halftime. But they would have to finish better if they were going to put the game beyond doubt, which was no doubt something coach Mike Anhaeuser was reminding his players in the dressing room.
And only four minutes after the interval, a tidy little give and go between Logan Gdula and Robbie Crawford sent Gdula down the right wing, and a cross would go all the way across the box and find Nico Rittmeyer, who headed the ball back across the ‘keeper to finally double his team’s lead.
It was strange seeing the 5’8 winger climb over his defender to get to a header, but it was the insurance his side needed.
Angelo Kelly was again involved on 51′, this time being fed by a Robbie Crawford low cross that was dummied into the path of his midfield compatriot, but again, he couldn’t get the power he needed behind the shot.
Three minutes later, Crawford would find the goal scorer Rittmeyer, whose cross into the path of Romario Piggott would be redirected into the bar for another agonizing near miss for the midfielder.
Just after the hour mark, Jay Bolt replaced Romario Piggott that signaled an evident change in formation for the last half hour as the full back Bolt replaced Piggott, a midfielder.
On 65′, Jackson Conway for the away side forced Phil Breno into a smart save when his ball across the box was deflected toward goal and required the ‘keeper to push the ball around the post from point blank range, though the corner that followed was wasted.
A double substitution with just under 20 minutes to go saw Nicque Daley and Zeiko Lewis replaced by Arthur Bosua and Keirron Mason respectively, with the former pair having put in a good shift having combined for the first goal and imposing themselves on an out of sorts Atlanta defense as Bosua’s fresh legs would come on to be a more direct threat.
Things would only get worse for the visitors as Abdoulame Diop went in on Logan Gdula with a studs up challenge to the ribs with eight minutes of normal time to go, and the referee wasted no time going to his back pocket to give Diop his marching orders.
With five minutes to go, Jay Bolt would play Keirron Mason down the left wing, and the midfielder would keep the ball into the box just before it went out of play, playing in Stavros Zarokostas, but his shot was wide.
With four minutes left to go, a cross from Nico Rittmeyer on the left looked dangerous, but failed to find Arthur Bosua in the middle.
However, the Battery weren’t done. deep in stoppage time, a cross from Zarokostas on the left after buildup along the edge of the box would indeed find Bosua at the back post, whose shot would go off the post and seemingly over the line, but Rittmeyer, who came barreling in would make sure of the third goal.
And so, that’s how things finished. The Battery would find their scoring touch to go along with their play, and three points were the result.
They next face the Tampa Bay Rowdies in their first away game since the restart on Friday, July 31st. Kick off is set for 7:30, and you can stream the game on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: NICO RITTMEYER CELEBRATES AGAINST ATLANTA UNITED LAST SEASON. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY.