Mueller’s late finish lifts Charleston over Wilmington Hammerheads

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The Charleston Battery took their second late victory in as many games at MUSC Health Stadium as Taylor Mueller’s goal handed Wilmington Hammerheads FC a 2-1 defeat on Saturday night.

After a stoppage-time winner by Romario Williams two weeks ago against Cincinnati in their home opener, Mueller flicked a header from Justin Portillo’s corner kick with six minutes to go to give Charleston three points in the result.

The Battery (2-0-1, 7 pts) grabbed the lead in just the second minute as a long throw-in from the right side was flicked on at the near post by Mueller. The header went off the crossbar and Williams reacted quickly to bundle home his second goal of the season from inside the six yard area.

Wilmington was pressured late in the second half on Saturday. Photo courtesy Kim Morgan Gregory.
Wilmington was pressured late in the second half on Saturday. Photo courtesy Kim Morgan Gregory.

Charleston almost replicated its success five minutes later when Maikel Chang was able to keep the play alive and lifted the ball toward Williams and Ataullah Guerra, but the volleyed shot was saved by Wilmington goalkeeper John Smits.

Wilmington (1-1-1, 4pts) got back on level terms just past the half-hour mark when the Hammerheads were awarded a free kick on the right side. Mael Corboz sent in a fine delivery and Bruno Perone headed into the right corner of the net.

The goal appeared to spur the Battery into life again as Charleston pushed hard to regain the lead before the halftime break. However, the Hammerheads remained solid defensively to keep the score level as both defenses began to take control in the second half.

The Battery pressure finally paid off with six minutes remaining when Charleston was awarded a corner from the left. Wilmington had a pair of chances from free kicks to try and find an equalizer, but the Battery held on to hand the Hammerheads their first loss of the season.

Mueller was named Man of the Match after the big center back was involved in both goals. His steady presence at the back alongside Shawn Ferguson also dealt well with Wilmington’s quick attack.

Wilmington Hammerheads FC dropped to 1-1-1 overall and return home to face FC Montreal on Sunday, April 17 for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Legion Stadium. Charleston remained unbeaten at 2-0-1 with the result as the Battery face Charlotte Independence in week four of the USL season.