Hammerheads draw in Orlando with dramatic goal in extra time

Hammerheads draw in Orlando with dramatic goal in extra time

From Wilmington Hammerheads 

Orlando, FL – For the second time this season, Orlando City B (OCB) hosted Wilmington at the Titan Soccer Complex.

From the start of the game, both teams applied strong pressure, setting the tone for the match. Wilmington presented a strong defense as Orlando struggled to get a presentable ball past #47 Ashani Fairclough and #23 Bruno Perone.

In the 9th minute, Wilmington found their first opportunity to score when a late tackle by Orlando gave Wilmington a free kick in a dangerous position. Wilmington's next opportunity didn't present itself until the 20th minute, when OCB passed the ball to goalkeeper #70 Jake Fenlason, only to rebound as Wilmington's #10 Justin Moose grazed the ball, deflecting it out of bounds.

Wilmington recently signed #21 Michael Binns who made his debut for the Port City team during Sunday's match. In the 21st minute, Binns picked up the first yellow card of the game.

Five minutes later, #6 Liam Miller tackled Orlando's #51 Michael Cox in the 18, giving Orlando a penalty kick, which resulted in the first goal of the match. The penalty kick was accompanied by Wilmington's second yellow card for Miller.

After Orlando's goal, #47 Marius Obekop was given an opportunity to score firing the ball just past the right post after a breakaway. Despite Orlando's opportunities to score, Wilmington had a strong possession spell for the final fifteen minutes of the first half.

Right out of the gate, Wilmington fired down the field with collective passes between Moose and #7 Austin Martz, presenting their first chance to score in the 45th minute. Quickly following, Wilmington fired a shot just outside the box causing OCB's goalkeeper #50 Mark Ridgers to deflect the ball just over the net. Wilmington proved to be the better of the two teams starting the second half with numerous back-to-back opportunities to score. All their hard work paid off in the 47th minute when Fairclough equalized the score; an assist by #14 Logan Miller.

As the second half continued, a damaging turn of events took place in the 51st minute, when Perone was immediately rejected from the game with a red card after an altercation on the field with Andrew Ribeiro.

With Perone's red card, OCB picked up the pieces, controlling the ball for a counter attack. In the 64thminute, #49 shot a bullet where goalkeeper #16 Eric Ati made an impressive diving save, to stand and deflect the rebound preventing OCB from scoring.

In the 71st minute, Fairclough received a yellow card at the top of the box, creating a dangerous play for OCB; which resulted in a save by Ati. Wilmington gained back their bearings as both teams continued through the second half playing evenly, and competitively.

OCB's #46 Antonio Rocha scored the second goal for OCB in the 82nd minute, launching a rocket far outside the box, hitting Fairclough and finding the back of the net.

86th minute #25 Ferrety Sousa found an opening with a low, impressive save by Ridgers. In the final minute of the game, Miller placed a beautiful ball in the top right corner of the net, marking his first goal of the game, and the equalizing goal, ending 2-2.

Wilmington's head coach Mark Briggs stated, "Tonight we showed the spirit and desire that's been lacking in recent weeks. A lot of things went against us this evening; the yellow cards, the red card, the penalty kick, and yet we still find that bit of quality in the last third." He continued, "Fantastic performance by our guys. We deserve the three points, but we will take the one."