Wilmington Hammerheads Press Release
Wilmington, NC – Wilmington Hammerheads FC played the Rochester Rhinos to a 1-1 draw at Legion Stadium on Saturday night. A dramatic equalizer by Wilmington's Ashani Fairclough in stoppage time tied Rochester's Steevan do Santos' goal from minutes before to earn each side one point in the league standings.
The Rhinos attempted early in the match to increase the score and pull away from the Hammerheads off consecutive corner kicks. Midfielder Onua Obasi used the opportunity for a header off a corner kick by Jonny Mendoza, but Wilmington goalkeeper Andre Rawls tipped the ball just over the crossbar leading to another Rochester corner kick that was punched out of the penalty area after Obasi found the ball at his feet for the cross. The Hammerheads responded with a long ball to Christian Bassogog from Will Heaney for the potential breakaway, but was shut down by Rochester's defense.
Wilmington prevented multiple attempts on goal as halftime approached, deflecting Christian Volesky's shot on the slide and with an impressive save on the goal line by Justin Moose following two attempts by Rochester on the corner kick. Moose followed offensively with his own attempt on goal, ending in a corner kick for the Hammerheads and allowing Anthony Peters to use his height to an advantage off the set piece, however, Rochester goalkeeper Brandon Miller's reach proved to overpower the stature of the Wilmington defender.
Each side continued to look for the back of the net as the second half went underway. Rochester's Kernardo Forbes crossed the ball into the penalty searching for Mendoza for the attempt on goal, but Wilmington's Paul Nicholson lunged to push the ball wide at the last second. Moose was close to increasing the score for the Hammerheads midway through the half with a hard shot to the top left corner of the goal from 30 yards out when Miller leaped for the save in the air.
Wilmington came back with a free kick by Fran Martinez just outside the corner of the penalty area, but targeted straight to Miller for the save. Rochester took the lead in the 89th minute following a drive down the side by Forbes, crossing it to dos Santos for a few touches and a shot to the lower right corner of the net. It was not long before Wilmington's Ashani Fairclough equalized the match in stoppage time off a cross from Tom Parratt after receiving the ball from Moose at the top of the penalty area following a second attempt from a corner kick.