CHARLESTON S.C. -- The Wilmington Hammerheads took their second road victory of the season as they defeated the Charleston Battery 1-0 on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in front of a crowd of 4,487. Hammerheads midfielder Paul Nicholson scored the lone goal in the fourth minute to lead Wilmington to victory.
The goal came after Charleston defender Colin Falvey tangled with Wilmington's Sammy Ochoa just outside the penalty area, and the referee awarded a free kick. Wilmington midfielder Danny Lovitz bent his shot around the wall, and Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper managed to get down and tip the ball away, but Nicholson was first to react to the loose ball and drove his shot home from an acute angle.
Charleston's best chance to level the game in the first half came in the 25th minute after a pass was slipped through to forward Adam Mena. Mena got his shot away but the ball was blocked wide by the lunging tackle of defender Ashani Fairclough.
In the 49th minute the Battery threatened again after defender Quinton Griffith beat his man and broke to the byline. Griffith picked out midfielder Andre Lewis at the near post but Lewis' shot was saved by Wilmington goalkeeper Quillan Roberts.
The game changed on the hour-nark after Wilmington's Manby Aparicio was ejected for receiving a second yellow card, which gave the Battery a man-advantage for the final 30 minutes. Wilmington retreated as the Battery pressure built and Charleston created several good chances. Substitute forward Haviel Cordoves hit the crossbar with a stinging shot from distance in the 77th minute, and then five minutes later Quinton Griffith saw his left-footed drive deflected over the bar by a Wilmington defender.
With time running out the Battery finally carved out a quality chance after the ball was set to striker Mamadou Diouf 10 yards from goal. The rookie drilled a shot at the goal, but Roberts was well positioned and parried the ball away to safety.
The Battery's next match is at Blackbaud Stadium on Tuesday night against the Panama City Beach Pirates in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup; gates open at 6 p.m., with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. The Battery and Hammerheads will meet again next Saturday night at Legion Stadium to complete their home-and-home series.
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