A controversial penalty was enough to see Hartford Athletic past the Charleston Battery on Tuesday night as the Black and Yellow slumped to a 2-1 defeat.
Two goals in the space of three minutes midway through the first half had the hosts in front, and Claudio Repetto’s goal in first half stoppage time surely changed the Battery’s half time team talk, but the Italian’s first goal since his return from injury was only a consolation as the Battery couldn’t find an equalizer in the second half.
The Black and Yellow struggled to find their feet all game, and gave up the first chance in just the third minute.
Darwin Lom would cross toward the middle of the box and a certain corridor of uncertainty, finding Juan Obregon Jr, who put his shot past Paul Lewis, but onto the crossbar.
Though at the end, just a few minutes later, a Battery corner at the other end found loanee Frank Nodarse, who headed the ball on and forced a save from the ‘keeper.
The Battery would continue to come into the game, and on 26′, a Stavros Zarokostas shot was saved and cleared for a corner, but nothing came of it as it was cleared away.
Darwin Lom would have the ball in the net a while later, but the flag was raised for offside by the referee’s assistant.
Though turning the ball home seemed to get the home side’s tails up again, and after 32′, a Hartford corner was swung in from the left and headed on and in by Derek Dodson, beyond a diving Paul Lewis, who got his hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
The Battery had found their way only to find themselves behind a few minutes later, and it would only get worse.
On 34′, just two minutes after the goal, Temi Adesodun gave away a rather soft penalty after the defender looked to have been challenging for the ball fairly, standing up his man on the right of the area, but it was the referee who pointed to the spot to give the hosts the opportinity to go 2-0 in front.
While Paul Lewis guessed right, getting down well to his left and getting a hand to the effort, he couldn’t stop the ball from going into the net to double Hartford’s lead.
The Battery were on the ropes, and after the double punch to the gut after finally finding their way into the game, it was going to be a tough task to find their way back.
However, in stoppage time in the first half a corner that was cleared away eventually fell to the feet of Zeiko Lewis, who reset, and crossed in for Claudio Repetto, whose snap back header was directed on goal and dropped in at the far post.
This gave the Battery the lifeline they needed, and in great time, with the goal being essentially the last kick of the half.
But it soon became obvious that Hartford’s plan for the second half was to suck the life out of the game, and the Battery struggled to press high enough to make an impact.
After 62′, Obregon Jr would look to make the most of some good play on the wing, cutting inside on the left, with the defense afraid to give away another spot kick, and hit the bar for the second time in the match.
And while the Battery forced set pieces for the rest of the match, it was really a case of their hosts keeping the ball for most of the half, meaning that the Battery struggled to really create opportunities.
And that’s the way it finished. The game may turn out to be a six-pointer for these two team’s playoff hopes, with Hartford jumping up past Charlotte in the Atlantic Division Standings, while Charleston are mired in sixth.
The Battery next face New York Red Bulls this coming Friday, August 20th, away from home. Kick off is at 7PM, while the match will be streamed on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: PAUL LEWIS MAKES A SAVE IN THE BATTERY’S 2-1 LOSS TO HARTFORD. HARTFORD ATHLETIC PHOTO