A pair of goals from Augi Williams bookended a goal from Enock Kwakwa that saw the Charleston Battery earn only their third win of the season against Hartford Athletic Saturday night.
Williams opened the scoring from a cross from Matt Sheldon in only the 13th minute. Prince Saydee would equalize in the 22nd on the end of a quick Hartford counter, but Enock Kwakwa would then finally bundle in from close range following a Battery free kick. Williams would add another in the second after the ball was played into the box from a short corner, and despite a late red card for Matt Sheldon, the Black and Yellow were able to hold on to earn a vital three points.
The Battery began the match quickly, despite giving up a few half chances to the visitors early on, and in the 14th minute, the hosts won the ball back high, but was then intercepted by the Hartford defense before a pass back was left unclaimed by the ‘keeper as it eventually made its way onto the feet of Matt Sheldon, who shaped a ball into Augi Williams for a tap in and 1-0.
The hosts were looking to turn the screw on their opponents then, but a half chance would see a clearance by Hartford eventually work its way to a counter. A cross from the right on the floor would find Prince Savdee, who tapped in as the cross took Hugo Fauroux out of the play.
Given the fact that the Battery’s defense have been leaky in this campaign, the goal was certainly disheartening. However, it wasn’t long before they had their feet firmly on the gas pedal again.
A Battery free kick in the 25th minute played in from the right would be headed down and half cleared by the Hartford defense before being forced on goal at the top of the box, saved, but then eventually turned in by Enock Kwakwa.
It was Kwakwa’s first goal in a Battery shirt and for a team who hasn’t scored many goals, great to see goals coming from midfield.
An Augi Williams shot on 41′ could have strengthened the Battery’s lead before the break, but the effort from distance went wide.
That’s how we went into the break, the Battery playing much better than recent games. A sense of eagerness to go forward, and though conceding a cheap goal against the run of play for the equalizer, in much better shape defensively as well.
The Black and Yellow then continued where they left off, when a short Battery corner would go narrowly wide off the head of Augi Williams on 49′.
But then, on 53′, a cross from Charlie Asensio, on loan from Austin FC, would again find Williams with a brilliant whipped cross for a snap header that bounced in off the inside of the far post.
Much of the game following that would be bogged down by fouls and possession in the midfield as the Battery looked to batten down the hatches and Hartford trying to force their way back into the match.
It would, however, end on a sour note as Matt Sheldon would be sent off with 10 minutes left. It was a stray elbow on the sideline off the ball, and while on replay it seemed to be harsh, it was a challenge you don’t give the referee a decision to make for.
But the Battery were able to hold on for only their third win of the campaign, all coming at home.
The Battery will travel next week to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Friday, July 22 at 9PM. You can stream the match on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: ENOCK KWAKWA CELEBRATES AFTER PUTTING HIS TEAM BACK IN FRONT IN THE FIRST HALF AGAINST HARTFORD. ROSS ALMERS PHOTO.