Paul Lewis and Robbie Crawford were the heroes for the Charleston Battery as they got their first win in two games over Loudoun United thanks to a first half penalty save by Lewis, and an 81st minute goal from Crawford.
The goal came after Crawford’s return to fitness, having come on for fellow returnee Claudio Repetto midway through the second half, while Lewis was once again deputizing for Joe Kuzminsky. Club captain Jarad van Schaik was also listed amongst the substitutes, but did not feature. The win was also a great gift to Coach Mike Anhaeuser, who celebrated his birthday Saturday.
The Battery got things started quickly, with Nicque Daley, Repetto’s strike partner, setting up the first shot on target of the match for the Black and Yellow as early as the sixth minute, but as the striker cut in from the right, he couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball to put power on the effort, which led to an easy save.
Claudio Repetto had his first effort a short while later, when on 14′, a free kick that was wafted in from the left was headed wide by the forward in a chance that his reaction, which had his head in his hands, indicated that he thought he should’ve done better.
The visitors grew into the game as it wore on, but a succession of corners at the Regiment end were sent away before they could cause much damage.
And then, a real guilt-edged chance fell the Battery’s way on the half hour mark, when DZ Harmon did well to get himself to the byline and around his defender before putting a ball in hard and low into the box. It looked as though Zeiko Lewis would slip trying to redirect the ball home, but the ball would eventually find Nicque Daley, who unfortunately couldn’t put much purchase on his effort as the ‘keeper would save.
It would look as if the Battery would pay the price for not putting the chance away, when on 36′, the referee pointed to the spot to give Loudoun United a penalty for a foul on the left of the area.
The penalty was taken at the Regiment end, and the fans did all they could to help Paul Lewis deny Loudoun the lead, and in the end, the ‘keeper guessed right, down to his right side to make the save to keep the score level.
Zeiko Lewis would have an effort from the left side of the area go high over the bar with five minutes to in the half, while Logan Gdula a few minutes later would head over having latched on to a cross on the left.
And that’s how the first half ended. The Battery began well, but knew they were going to have to improve if they wanted to make the save from the spot count.
Much of the second half was bogged down in midfield, each team feeling each other out, but also not wanting to make a mistake. It wasn’t until the substitutions started coming that the momentum began to shift. Luckily for the Battery, it went their way. Claudio Repetto’s return would go for just about an hour, while Robbie Crawford stepped on after his own battle with injury as the sub pointed toward a formation change. In what seemed like the going getting that much tougher, Logan Gdula would also go off due to injury not too long after Crawford’s entrence, thus not helping matters on an increasingly anxious front.
On 73, a Battery shot from the right would go high over the bar and out for a goal kick as the home side began to hunt for a winner.
There was a tidy bit of buildup on 79′ from the right side, when another substitute, Geobel Perez, who replaced DZ Harmon around 10 minutes earlier, would initiate a give and go with Zeiko Lewis, and while the ball was behind the forward to begin with, he was able to touch the ball onto Robbie Crawford, who set himself, burst past his defender and shot across goal from the edge of the box, hitting the post, but getting the spin off the woodwork as the ball went in the net to finally break the deadlock.
It was a good goal from the midfielder, not known to score many, but it was vital for the home side, who were in the middle of a bit of a tailspin and desperately in need of a win.
The Battery weren’t done there. On 83′, Romario Piggott had his shot from the left of the box go over in search of a second, while he also nearly scored from a breakaway from a corner a few minutes after, but he couldn’t get enough purchase on a low shot to put it past the keeper.
In stoppage time, Temi Adesodun would be subbed off due to injury, yet another issue for the Black and Yellow, as the player who can play all along the left side went down following Crawford’s goal, but again at the end of normal time, meaning the referee was forced to add on more time at the end of the game.
But at the end of what seemed like an agonizing wait for the Black and Yellow, the final whistle blew, and the Battery had won the game.
It was a massive three points, which puts them level with Hartford in the standings for fourth place before they travel to Connecticut on Tuesday, August 17th.
That match at Dillon Stadium will begin at 7:00PM and be streamed on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: ROBBIE CRAWFORD LINES UP TO HIT WHAT WOULD EVENTUALLY BE THE GAME WINNER. ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN.