Wilmington Hammerheads forward Sunny Jane put his final shot of the night off Charleston Battery’s right post in stoppage time and the rebound attempt failed as Wilmington’s valiant effort fell short in a 1-0 loss Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Battery (6-1-4, 2nd place in the Eastern Conference) got back in the win column by the narrowest of margins despite playing the entire second half with a man advantage after Wilmington (1-6-3) lost forward Aaron Wheeler to a red card in the game’s 37th minute.
The home side dominated the statistics, out-shooting Wilmington 16-7, yet needed a penalty kick in the 18th minute to get on the board. Justin Portillo sent goalkeeper Andrew Rawls the wrong way and scored to the lower left. It was Portillo’s second goal of the season and month, both coming off penalties
Despite their disadvantage and playing against the hopes of most of the 5,455 people in attendence, Wilmington came out with heart and fire in the second half and took the game to Charleston, getting great pace and opportunities from strikers Jane and substitute Christian Bassogog.
The match was the Battery’s eighth in May and improved the team’s home record in USL to 4-0-2. Wilmington fell to 1-6-3 overall, with just six points in 10 games played.
Charleston gets a full week off before traveling to Wilmington for the rematch. Charleston beat the Hammerheads in North Carolina on April 26 to begin their four-game 2015 series.