Battery Share Points in Colorado in six goal thriller
The Charleston Battery earned a point against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks thanks to a stoppage time equalizer from AJ Paterson Friday night.
The Battery lead twice before being pegged back late. It was then a well worked Free Kick routine in injury time that fell to the feet of the Battery captain that meant that while the Black and Yellow could count themselves unlucky not to find their first win away from home in 2022, a spirited performance against one of the league’s best sides left them with a point well earned.
The Battery would start very well, and would score with their first effort at goal, when midfielder Geobel Perez continued his good form aided by a bit of luck as a shot from distance took a deflection before looping over the goalkeeper’s arm and into the net.
The visitors held their own for nearly 20 minutes before Michee Ngalina would make his way down the right side, beat Preston Kilwien for pace, and square to the left that took Hugo Fauroux out of the play as Elvis Amoh equalized. The first half would go back and forth from both sides, but they went in level at the break.
The two sides would come back out for the second 45 as the hosts looked to assert control, but it was a well worked Battery counter that would put the visitors back in the lead.
Augi Williams would make his way past a defender into midfield, cross the ball to the left and Charlie Asensio before continuing his run and popping up at the back post for Asensio’s cross, mishitting his shot but faking out the ‘keeper and putting his side back in front.
The goal was Williams’ tenth of the year, emphasizing that while the Black and Yellow have struggled, having a threat up front has been vitally important if they’re going to find a way out of the situation they’re in.
Hadji Barry would then combine with the goalscorer Ngolina after a long ball up front, but Fauroux would save well to his right.
An Enock Kwakwa shot from a ball crossed in just past the hour mark would go wide of goal without troubling the goalkeeper, before Hadji Barry would receive a smart pass inside the box from Jairo Henriquez, take a touch and power home at the near post.
It was a goal that Hugo Fauroux will most likely say he should’ve prevented, but the power on the effort was too strong to handle, and the scores were level.
Things got worse for the Battery on 75′, as Joe Schmidt took down Henriquez in the box, earning the hosts a penalty.
Fauroux would guess the right way, down to his left, but the power beat him as Henriquez would put his team in front for the first time in the match.
The Battery didn’t let their heads drop, however, when on 86′, Augi Williams missed a guilt edged chance when a ball headed back across goal would then be headed again into his path, but the striker put the effort wide.
Colorado thought they had the match won after 89′, when Ngolina curled an effort into the upper 90 past a helpless Hugo Fauroux from outside the left edge of the box, only for his acrobatic celebration to be cut short by the assistant’s flag on the far side to be raised for offside.
And then, as the match went into stoppage time, the Battery would earn themselves a free kick about 25 yards from goal. There were three with around the ball to take it, Geobel Perez stood in front of the ball, while AJ Paterson and the returning Robbie Crawford would stand goal-side, sizing up the opportunity. In the end, it was Perez playing decoy for the ‘keeper, playing the ball to an on-rushing Paterson, who would hammer the ball toward goal, off the crossbar and into the back of the net.
After being up twice, it was a well deserved goal for the Black and Yellow, in desperate need of points. In dire situations, it’s the leaders in the team who are asked to step up most, and Paterson’s goal was a captain’s goal if there ever was one.
That’s how the match ended. The Battery could be a bit frustrated with how the match went, given that they led. But they certainly didn’t deserve to lose, and on the balance of play, it was a fair point.
The Black and Yellow next face another tough opponent in Sacremento Republic FC at Patriot’s Point on Saturday, July 30. Kick off is at 7:30.
TOP IMAGE: AUGI WILLIAMS, WHO SCORED HIS 10TH GOAL OF THE YEAR TONIGHT, ON THE BALL AGAINST HARTFORD. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO
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