Wilmington Hammerheads FC gave the home crowd its first result at Legion Stadium since August 2015 on Sunday afternoon as the Hammerheads earned a 2-nil win against FC Montreal in front of 3,182 fans.
With seven points in league play, Wilmington climbed the early season Eastern Conference Table within the United Soccer League, improving to 2-1-1 overall.
“We’re just getting started,” said Matthew Barnes-Homer, who scored his first goal for the Hammerheads this season. “This is how we wanted to start. I think it’s a good basis for building to a better season.”
Combined with Qudus Lawal’s early score, the Hammerheads had a strong performance en route to its second win this year. For Barnes-Homer and the Wilmington side, they know the expectations are much higher this season.
“We have a great team spirit this season,” Barnes-Homer said. “Everybody knows what’s at stake and what’s required: to make the playoffs. That’s what we concentrate on doing. We take each game as it comes and we just have to concentrate on the win today and keep winning games and keep working hard for each other.”
Lawal tallied in the sixth minute and Barnes-Homer in the 58th as Wilmington was in complete control from start to finish.
The Hammerheads kept Montreal’s defense busy from the get-go and took advantage of a bad giveaway at midfield early in the match. Wilmington played the ball long to Lawal, who went one-on-one with Montreal goalkeeper Max Crepeau. He slotted a low shot underneath Crepeau’s glove and inside the right of frame for an early 1-0 advantage.
Lawal left the contest under his own power in the 33rd minute because of an apparent injury, but Wilmington continued to pressure early in the second half as Liam Miller’s 49th minute shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
The Hammerheads added a big insurance score in the 58th minute after another poor giveaway by Montreal. Former UNCW standout Michael Meachem crossed from the right side to Barnes-Homer, who headed the ball into the right side of the net for a two-goal cushion.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC (2-1-1) now stands two points back from top spot in the Eastern Conference, behind Lousiville City FC (3-0-0) and New York Red Bulls II (2-0-2), with nine and eight points, through four matches.
Up next for the Hammerheads is a short week of training ahead of their next home match when Wilmington (2-1-1) plays host to New York Red Bulls II on Friday, April 22. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.