Wilmington, NC – Wilmington Hammerheads FC concluded their final match of the USL regular season on Saturday night with a 2-2 draw versus Toronto FC II. Aaron Wheeler netted two goals for the Hammerheads in front of 3,243 fans at Legion Stadium, both equalized by Toronto’s Sal Bernal.
Jordan Hamilton was quick to set the pace for the first half with a 50-yard breakaway down the sideline for Toronto. Surpassing defender Paul Nicholson on the backline, Hamilton approached Hammerheads territory for the first attempt of the night, but goalkeeper Andre Rawls stood wide to deflect the shot. Making his final appearance of his playing career, Cody Arnoux retaliated for Wilmington moments later with the club’s first attempt of the match, but Toronto goalkeeper Quillan Roberts made the slide for the save.
Aaron Wheeler notched his first goal of the night for Wilmington in the 13th minute after Corben Bone took the ball around three Toronto defenders and laid it off to him for the one touch into the back of the net. The goal was his first individual goal of the season and he later scored his second goal of the match with a header from a corner kick taken by Tom Parratt in the 37th minute.
The Hammerheads shutout did not hold long as Toronto’s Sal Bernal got a touch on a loose ball bouncing in the penalty area, knocking it just over Rawls’ head as he came off the goal line in the 45th minute. Bernal fired back again in the 55th minute with the equalizer, making majority of the second half a fight between both sides looking to secure a full victory.
Chris Mannella looked to notch that extra goal each side was looking for in the 66th minute for Toronto as his shot hit the crossbar and deflected into the penalty area. Hamilton stepped up to take the second attempt on the play at the top of the box, but Rawls once again prevented him access and kept the score at a standstill.
Qudus Lawal had the final attempt of the match for the Hammerheads in stoppage time as he dribbled amongst four Toronto defenders in the penalty area, his touch on the ball fell short for the shot and Roberts deflected it out of bounds.