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Monday, May 20, 2024

Rookie midfielder tallies twice for Wilmington in win over New York

Making his second start at Legion Stadium this season, rookie midfielder Stefan Defregger tallied twice to help guide Wilmington Hammerheads FC to a 4-2 result over New York Red Bulls II in front of more than 3,800 fans on Saturday night.

For a team that has struggled to find the back of the net all year, Defregger recorded his first professional goal in the 19th minute to give the home side a one-nil advantage. Christian Bassogog and Brian Ackley set up the first-year player with a couple of clean touches before Bassogog sent in a left-to-right cross as Defregger finished from 15 yards out.

Stefan Defregger. Photo courtesy- Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Stefan Defregger. Photo courtesy- Wilmington Hammerheads FC

Bassogog’s speed and the skill of Qudus Lawal proved to be a difference maker in the final third to give Wilmington its first multi-score game since their home opener on March 28.

New York Red Bulls II found the equalizer in the 31st minute when Marius Obekop beat his defender around the left edge for an easy put away, but Defregger put the Hammerheads back in front minutes later thanks to the effort of Lawal and Bassogog. A long ball found Lawal in stride to set up a two-on-one opportunity and the Wilmington forward showed great composure with a patient play that gave Defregger an open net from just inside the 18-yard line.

The Hammerheads continued its aggressive play until late in the first half and Lawal was eventually rewarded with his first goal since being traded to Wilmington. The Nigerian gathered a loose ball near midfield and used an explosive first step to break past defender Michael Da Fonte. With plenty of space approaching goal, Lawal sent a strike from 25 yards out into the left corner of frame for the 3-1 cushion at the break.

Brian Ackley put the finishing touches on the win in the 61st minute after the Hammerheads were awarded a penalty kick when Bassogog was brought down inside the box. The goal was Ackley’s third of the season and gave Wilmington its first victory at Legion Stadium this year.

Andrew Rawls finished with a handful of quality saves to keep New York at bay as the Hammerheads moved to 3-11-6 overall. Wilmington travels to Rochester on August 15 before returning home for a date with FC Montreal on August 22.

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