Trailing by one after Rochester scored in the 87th minute, Ashani Fairclough found the equalizer in stoppage time to give Wilmington Hammerheads FC a 1-1 draw with the league leading Rhinos at Legion Stadium on Saturday night.
Each side was awarded one point in the USL standings, while Wilmington ended a four-game losing streak to improve to 1-5-3 this season. Rochester moved to 6-0-3 as the top team in the eastern conference table.
The Rhinos broke a scoreless match with one minute to go in regulation following a drive down the side by Kernardo Forbes, crossing it to Duba dos Santos for one touch and a shot to the lower right corner of the net.
With the home side deflated following the goal, Fairclough leveled the match in extra time off a cross from Tom Parratt after receiving the ball from Justin Moose at the top of the penalty area following a second attempt from a corner kick.
Rochester attempted early in the match to increase the score and pull away from the Hammerheads off consecutive corner kicks, but Wilmington goalkeeper Andre Rawls tipped the ball just over the crossbar leading to another Rochester corner kick that was punched out of the penalty area.
Wilmington prevented multiple attempts on goal as halftime approached, deflecting Christian Volesky’s shot on the slide, while Moose found himself in the middle of two big stops following a pair of attempts by Rochester on the corner kick.
Each side continued to look for the back of the net as the second half went underway as Forbes crossed the ball into the penalty area searching for Johnny Mendoza for the attempt on goal, but Wilmington’s Paul Nicholson lunged to push the ball wide at the last second.
Moose was also close to increasing the score for the Hammerheads midway through the half with a hard shot to the top left corner of the goal from 30 yards out when Brandon Miller leaped for the save in the air.
Wilmington came back with a free kick by Fran Martinez just outside the corner of the penalty area, but targeted straight to Miller for the save.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC plays host to Chattanooga FC for the second round of U.S. Open Cup at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Legion Stadium.