Wilmington Hammerheads FC controlled tempo on the road and had chances to find the scoring sheet, but an own goal in the 53rd minute handed the Richmond Kickers a 1-nil result at City Stadium on Saturday night.
It was the second consecutive result for Richmond as the Kickers picked up three points to move up the Eastern Conference Table within the United Soccer League. A cross from just outside the left edge of the penalty area by Braeden Troyer deflected off the far post and off Hammerheads defender Ashani Fairclough into the back of the net.
Troyer was named Man of the Match as the Kickers’ left back provided the delivery for what ended up being the lone goal, while maintaining the high standard he’s already set this season with Richmond locking down the final third late in the contest.
After getting one point against the Kickers in the first meeting between the teams last month during a scoreless draw, Wilmington pushed late for an equalizer, but could not convert.
The first 15 minutes of the game provided an entertaining start with both sides creating dangerous opportunities.
The Hammerheads had a pair of golden opportunities early as Austin Martz sent a low strike from just outside the 18-yard line ringing off the right post. Matthew Barnes-Homer found the ensuing rebound right on his foot, but sent the easy put away over the crossbar.
The Kickers responded with a chance of their own one minute later when Jason Yeisley found himself in on goal and one on one with Wilmington goalkeeper, John Smits.
In the 38th minute Richmond once again tested Smits. Following a poor clearance from the Wilmington defense, Romulo Peretta collected the ball at the top of the box and fired low driven shot on goal, forcing Smits to fully extend to his right to force ball out of play for a corner kick.
Wilmington searched for the equalizer late, but were unable to test the Richmond goalkeeper, Matt Turner, who is on loan from New England Revolution. Turner recorded two saves including a 90th minute stop following a deflected shot.
The Hammerhaeds dropped to 2-3-2 overall and return home for their next two matches, but the home side has a huge challenge ahead with a quick turnaround against one of the league leaders. Standing at 5-2-0 this season, Charlotte Independence bring a four-game winning streak to the Port City for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Legion Stadium on Tuesday, May 10.