Hammerheads fall 2-1 at Charleston Battery

Hammerheads fall 2-1 at Charleston Battery

News release from the USL:

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery took their second late victory in as many games at MUSC Health Stadium this season as Taylor Mueller's goal earned a 2-1 victory against Wilmington Hammerheads FC on Saturday night.

After a stoppage-time winner by Romario Williams had given the Battery victory against Cincinnati in their home opener, Mueller proved the hero as his flicked header from Justin Portillo's corner kick with six minutes to go earned Charleston victory.

The Battery (2-0-1, 7pts) grabbed the lead in just the second minute as a long throw-in from the right side was flicked on at the near post by Mueller. The flicked header went off the crossbar, and Williams reacted quickly to bundle home his second goal of the season from inside the six-yard area.

Charleston almost replicated its success five minutes later, as Maikel Chang was able to keep the play alive and lifted the ball toward Williams and Ataullah Guerra, whose volleyed finish was well saved by Wilmington goalkeeper John Smits.

Smits had to be sharp as the Battery thrust forward again soon after. Guerra's pass sent Chang in alone on the left, but Smits got off his line quickly to smother the ball as Chang tried to go around him. Williams' speed continued to be a threat, but as the half wore on the Hammerheads began to come further into the game.

Wilmington (1-1-1, 4pts) got back on level terms just past the half-hour mark when the Hammerheads were awarded a free kick on the right side. Mael Corboz sent in a fine delivery, and Bruno Perone headed into the right corner of the net.

The goal appeared to spur the Battery into life again, and they pushed hard to regain the lead before the halftime break as Williams had a pair of shots charged down at the top of the penalty area. The Hammerheads remained solid defensively, though, to keep the score level.

Both defenses began to take control in the second half, as neither side was able to carve out a serious chance before the hour-mark. The Battery had a chance to regain the lead in the 64th minute when Portillo stole possession 25 yards from Wilmington's goal, but pulled his shot wide of the right post.

Charleston again threatened with 19 minutes to go as Portillo's cross found Neveal Hackshaw, but his header was blocked by the Wilmington defense. The Battery again went close in the 82nd minute as a cross by Portillo was just out of the reach of Chang for the finish.

The pressure finally paid off with six minutes to go, as a corner from the left by Portillo was flicked on at the near post by Mueller, whose header flew into the far corner of the net for a 2-1 lead. Wilmington had a pair of chances from free kicks to try and find an equalizer late on, but the Battery held on to hand the Hammerheads their first loss of the season.

Upcoming Games

April 16: Charleston Battery at Charlotte Independence, 7 p.m. ET, Ramblewood Stadium

April 17: Wilmington Hammerheads FC vs. FC Montreal, 3 p.m. ET, Legion Stadium

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Taylor Mueller, Charleston Battery – The big center back was involved in both goals as his ability in the air came to the fore, but Mueller was also a steady presence at the back again as the and Shawn Ferguson dealt well with Wilmington's quick attack.