CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery got back in the winning column with a 1-0 victory against the Wilmington Hammerheads on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.
Hammerheads forward Sunny Jane put his final shot of the night off the Battery's right post in stoppage time, and when a teammate's attempt at putting back the rebound failed, Wilmington's valiant effort fell short.
The Battery improved to 6-1-4, playing the entire second half with a man advantage after Wilmington (1-6-3) lost forward Aaron Wheeler to a red card in the game's 37th minute.
The home team dominated the statistics, out-shooting Wilmington 16-7, yet needed a penalty kick in the 18th minute to get on the board. Justin Portillo sent goalkeeper Andrew Rawls the wrong way and scored to the lower left. It was Portillo's second goal of the season and month, both coming off penalties
Despite their disadvantage, Wilmington came out with heart and fire in the second half and took the game to Charleston, getting great pace and opportunities from strikers Jane and substitute Christian Bassogog.
Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser credited Wilmington for the Hammerheads' tough play and acknowledged defensive errors by his players in the waning minutes and fatigue across the squad.
"We couldn't make that final pass, we couldn't make that final decision," Anhaeuser said. "They should have scored right there, right? So it should have been 1-1. But it wasn't. We got three points, and we're going to get out of this hectic schedule that we've had, and we'll run with it. Obviously we're fortunate that we got out of here with all three points.”
The match was the Battery's eighth in May and improved the team's home record in USL to 4-0-2. They haven't lost at home in a competitive match since May 28, 2014, and haven't lost to a USL opponent at Blackbaud Stadium since May 10, 2014, when Wilmington beat them 1-0. The club's home record in that calendar year improved to 11-0-5.