RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Kickers remained perfect at home in the 2016 USL season as they beat Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1-0 at City Stadium on Saturday May 7. The only goal of the game came in the 53rd minute through a Ashani Fairclough own goal, after Braeden Troyer's cross hit the frame of the goal and deflected in off the Wilmington player. Kickers now have recorded 13 points through 7 games and are 4-0 at City Stadium.
The first 15 minutes of the game provided an entertaining start to the game with both sides creating dangerous opportunities.
Just three minutes into the game, the Kickers almost fell behind. Wilmington midfielder, Austin Martz, drove a low shot towards goal that went past Kickers goalie, Matt Turner, and hit the inside of the post before rebounding to Wilmington forward, Matthew Barnes-Homer, whose shot went sailing over the empty net.
The Kickers responded with a chance of their own just a minute later when Jason Yeisley found himself in on goal and one on one with Wilmington goalkeeper, John Smits, but his shot was saved by the Hammerhead goalkeeper.
Kickers continued to create chances and in the 15th minute won a free kick 35 yards from the goal. From the ensuing free kick, Lucas Paulini whipped the ball into the box, which found defender, William Yomby, at the back post whose shot hit the wrong side of the post finding the side netting.
In the 38th minute Kickers once again tested Hammerhead goalkeeper, John Smitts. Following a poor clearance from the Wilmington defense, Romulo Peretta collected the ball at the top of the box and fired low driven shot on goal, forcing Smits to fully extend to his right to parry ball out of play for a corner kick.
The Richmond Kickers made two halftime changes with Brian Ownby and Fred Owusi Sekyere coming into the attack. Ownby immediately made an impact in the game, after a blistering run down the left wing, he then drove to the byline before crossing the ball into a dangerous area, forcing keeper, Smits, to swat the ball behind for a Richmond Kickers corner.
After continuing the pressure from the first half, Kickers made the breakthrough in 53rd minute. Braeden Troyer drove down the left wing and played one-two with Brian Ownby, who played Troyer into the box before he was forced to the byline where he crossed the ball over the goalkeeper and hit the inside top right corner of the goal, which ricocheted down onto Wilmington player, Ashani Fairclough, and bounced into the net, giving the Kickers a 1-0 lead.
The Kickers almost doubled their lead shortly, after a quick throw-in in the the Wilmington half, Jason Yeisley crossed the ball with his left foot, finding Fred Owusu Sekyere in the box but his one-time volley was too high to test Smits.
Richmond weren't complacent with the 1-0 lead and pushed for the second goal and in the 80th minute, Alex Lee almost found the back of the net. After good play down the right wing, Ownby crossed the ball back to Lee, who was driving into the box and his first time shot forced Smits to make a low save and clear the danger.
Wilmington searched for the equalizer late, but were unable to test the Richmond goalkeeper, Matt Turner, on loan from New England Revolution. Turner recorded two saves including a 90th minute save following a deflected shot from the Hammerheads.
The Richmond Kickers defense and Matt Turner were able to see out the game as the Kickers recorded a 1-0 victory. That marked the second consecutive clean sheet in as many games for the new signing.