Charleston Battery tallied two goals within minutes midway through the first half and held off Wilmington Hammerheads FC to earn a 2-1 result at Legion Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Zach Prince and Maikel Chang found the back of the net for Charleston, while Wilmington adjusted its lineup after the break and substitute Ashani Fairclough notched his first individual goal of the season to bring the home side within one with 30 minutes to play in the match.
The Battery had an early chance to take the lead after earning a penalty kick minutes into the first half, but Hammerheads goalkeeper Andre Rawls had a diving deflection to prevent Chang’s attempt on the right side of the frame. Sunny Jane responded soon after for the home side with a free kick that nicked the upper right crossbar as the scoreless game continued until the 24th minute when Zach Prince put Charleston on the board.
A long pass by Chang found the foot of Prince, who brought the ball down with one touch and finished a beautiful strike just inside the upper 90 for a 1-0 lead. Chang tallied the second goal for Battery minutes later after a cross by Memo Rodriguez was deflected off the fingers of Rawls and volleyed into the back of the net.
Rodriguez set up the scoring play with an aggressive move to steal possession away from Wilmington’s Andrae Campbell.
With a deficit of two on the board starting the second half, Wilmington’s Corben Bone took a hard bending shot off the free kick and nearly entered the top left corner of the goal, but the attempt was saved by Cooper. Forward Nick Zimmerman followed closely with a wide shot on goal and the Hammerheads finally found the back of the net in the 60th minute as Fairclough made contact with a redirection from Brian Ackley following a corner kick by Sunny Jane.
The Hammerheads nearly leveled the match late in the second half when Cody Arnoux took a short one-on-one opportunity, but the last touch by Arnoux ended in a hard deflection as Cooper ran off his line. Zimmerman was also close to equalizing for Wilmington in stoppage time as he beat Battery defender Emmanuel Adjetey to the touch, but the shot sailed just over the crossbar to preserve the result for Charleston.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC (1-2-2) hosts the Harrisburg City Islanders at 7 p.m. Saturday at Legion Stadium.