The Charleston Battery were beaten on Saturday by top of the table Pittsburgh Riverhounds by a score of 3-2, once again taking the lead and being pegged back.
Injuries once again reared their ugly head, with Joe Kuzminsky and Leland Archer as late omissions from the starting XI, giving Paul Lewis his first start of the season, so there was a shake up at the back as Temi Adesodun would start at left full back, AJ Paterson in the middle with Logan Gdula and Ben Di Rosa at right full back.
Zeiko Lewis and Angelo Kelly remained ever-presents in midfield beside Stavros Zarokostas, while DZ Harmon, Nicque Daley and Romario Piggott started up front.
The game took a while to get going, and it wasn’t until the 20th minute, when Zeiko Lewis took control of a Battery free kick, that there was a proper chance for either team.
Lewis played the ball near post for Logan Gdula to out jump the keeper and head into the top corner to give his side the lead.
After the slow start, it was a well worked goal and showcased Lewis’ prowess at free kicks, while Gdula had his first goal of the campaign after one goal last year.
But just three minutes later, the Battery would struggle to clear a ball into the box, which led to Logan Gdula sticking out a leg to bring down his attacker, for the referee to point to the spot.
The spot kick was taken by Russell Cicerone, and Paul Lewis would dive to his left to get a hand to it, only for the ball to go in off the post.
It was unlucky for the goallkeeper, who did well to get down to the effort, but he will have said he should have done better.
On 28′, Alex Dixon, who would be a thorn in the Battery’s side all night, would send a dangerous ball that looked like a hybrid of a cross and a shot, which would go wide at pace of Paul Lewis’ goal.
And it was Dixon again after 35 minutes who would play creator again, this time finding Cicerone in the middle from the right. The goalscorer would hold the ball up before turning to shoot, only to be blocked by Logan Gdula.
Pittsburgh had turned momentum around, and just before half time, Daniel Rovira would make his way down the left side, play a ball back at the byline and find the on rushing Alex Dixon to put the visitors ahead.
It was a well worked goal, but the Battery’s defense, allowing Dixon to ghost in, showed signs of missing Kuzminsky and Archer’s sense of leadership.
The half time team talk was surely more stern than it would have been had the home side kept control of the game, but the Black and Yellow came back out with a sense of urgency.
Just two minutes into the second 45, the Battery would make their way high into midfield, as Romario Piggott would play off for Nicque Daley, but as the striker looked to turn, the ball would take a deflection into the path of Stavros Zarokostas, who knocked the ball past the ‘keeper, but it would take Romario Piggott to turn the ball in on the line. Regardless, the Battery had their equalizer.
Down at the other end, however, Paul Lewis would have to make a save as Ben Di Rosa misplayed a ball across the box, and from the left, Lewis would have to make the save, and the ensuing corner would lead to nothing.
The goalkeeper would again be called upon just before the hour mark as Lewis would have to make an acrobatic save from Russell Cicerone’s header from the right of the area, though he was slow to get up after tipping the ball over the bar.
It was that injury that may have played a part when, after 65′, Alex Dixon received the ball on the right wing, took a touch and fired into the net across goal. It was a good effort,, but Lewis, who went down holding his hamstring, may have struggled to dive due to the injury.
So, the Battery found themselves down, and things didn’t get any easier when Stavros Zarokostas was sent off for a second bookable offense by dragging down a man on the right wing.
It was something the Battery did not need, especially in the middle of an injury crisis, as not only would he miss the rest of this game, he would be out of the Battery’s home match against Loudoun next week.
As the Battery tried to dig deep to find the equalizer, Angelo Kelly would cross from the right for Geobel Perez, a second half substitute, but his shot would be saved, and the ensuing corner would lead to naught.
There was six minutes of added on time, but the Battery could not make them count as they fell to their second straight 3-2 loss.
It was tough to take for Charleston, who saw two leads evaporate in midweek, and a third one here.
The Battery will look to bounce back next week, on Friday, August 13th against Loudoun United. Kick Off is scheduled for 7:30PM.
TOP IMAGE: ANGELO KELLY BATTLES IN MIDFIELD IN THE BATTERY’S LOSS FRIDAY. ALL PHOTOS ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY