First half goals from Nicque Daley and Zeiko Lewis weren’t enough for the Charleston Battery who couldn’t stop a second half fightback by Miami FC on the way to losing 3-2.
A well placed header gave Nicque Daley the opportunity to run onto the ball in the box, beating the ‘keeper to toe-poke the ball into the net before playing provider about 20 minutes later, finding Zeiko Lewis on the counter with a great through ball to give the Black and Yellow a two goal lead.
However, Ariel Martinez would capitalize on a deflection from a Burke Fahling tackle to go clean through a pull one back before half time, before Robert Baggio found Christian Francois to square the game, and while Baggio was sent off a few minutes later, a Billy Forbes free kick 12 minutes from time ended up being the winner for the home side.
Nicque Daley’s early goal was the first real chance of the evening, and came from a bit of head tennis in midfield when it eventually fell to the striker, who knocked it ahead of his man before outpacing the goalkeeper to the ball and putting it into the back of the net.
This got the game off to a great start given that the winner of the match would find themselves in third place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
The home side, though would find themselves back into the game quickly, and thought they were in for an equalizer just four minutes later, when a Christian Francois shot beat Joe Kuzminsky only to go clattering off the crossbar, only for the flag to go up for offside.
And then in the 21st came another flag, as this time they squirmed the ball into the net only for the flag to go up once again.
And then, with just over half an hour gone, Nique Daley did well to win the ball back in midfield, beginning the break for the Battery before playing in space for Zeiko Lewis, who made his way into the box before a shot found the back of the net.
While the Battery had themselves two goals in front, the second had come against the run of play after Miami had found themselves forcefully back into the game. But the Battery had given themselves a bit of insurance.
However, with a minute of normal time in the first half, Burke Fahling went in to tackle the ball off of Ariel Martinez, but the challenge meant the ball would hit the left leg of Patrick Hogan, and Martinez pounced on the ball, going through on goal and beating Kuzminsky to put a goal back and change the state of the half time team talks.
And Zeiko Lewis, having already had one goal on the night, found his way in in what looked like a mirror image of his goal from earlier, yet this time the effort went wide.
But then, with an hour gone, Robert Baggio fit a ball through toward Christian Francois, who held off his man and squeezed the ball into the back of the net for 2-2.
The goal came following a sustained spell of pressure after going in with their tails up at half time as the Black and Yellow let their opponents back into it.
And then, with 20 minutes to go, assist man Baggio got sent off for a bit of handbags with Logan Gdula as the Battery full back went down holding his face having earned his team a foul.
However, it was Miami who would continue on the attack, and on 78′, the home side won themselves a free kick around 25 yards from goal with Billy Forbes at the controls.
There were four men in Joe Kuzminsky’s wall, but none jumped as Forbes was able to pick out the top corner and give his side the lead.
It was difficult to take for the Battery, who were unable to make the most of the man advantage, but although the wall didn’t jump, it was a well taken goal for Miami.
The Battery would then of course have to put the pedal to the metal to earn something from the game.
And it almost came to pass, as Leland Archer latched onto a ball crossed back into the box after a corner was cleared only to head just wide of goal.
And the miss meant that that was the way it ended. It was a gut punch to lose a game like that, but even worse to lose out on the chance to go third in the table.
And things don’t get much easier for the Black and Yellow, who next face top of the table Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Patriot’s Point on Friday August 6th. Kick Off is at 7:30, and those unable to make it to the game can catch it on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: ZEIKO LEWIS PLAYS THE BALL IN MIDFIELD IN SUNDAY’S LOSS VS MIAMI. MIAMI FC PHOTO