The Charleston Battery pulled off a 1-0 win over Loudoun United FC Friday night for their fourth victory over the Virgina side this season. A defensive battle for nearly the full 90 minutes saw the home team come out victorious after a crucial penalty save by goalkeeper Paul Lewis and a late goal by Robbie Crawford. The Black and Yellow did not disappoint in front of a crowd over 3,000 strong celebrating Pride Night at Patriots Point.
The first half was a scoreless stalemate with neither side able to find a breakthrough. Charleston’s first opportunity came in the 7th minute via a Nicque Daley shot from the edge of the box, but his attempt was saved by Loudoun goalkeeper Jermaine Fordah in the bottom right corner. The Battery again had another chance in the 14th minute, a set piece play with a free kick sent in by Burke Fahling to Logan Gdula, but Gdula’s header was just wide of the net. Loudoun were quick on the counter attack throughout the half, with an opportunity coming just a minute later from a shot by Abdoul Amoustapha, but Battery goalkeeper Paul Lewis was there to make the diving save. Charleston outshot Loudoun 9-8 in the first 45 minutes of action.
The defining moment of the half came in the 38th minute when Lewis denied Robert Dambrot from the penalty spot. The concession was awarded following a foul by Gdula against Dambrot. Lewis correctly guessed Dambrot’s attempt to the right side of the net and got a pair paws on the ball to deny Loudoun from the scoresheet. Both Lewis and Fordah shined in the first half, notching two and three saves, respectively, to keep the match scoreless at the break.
The second half kicked off with the same tone as the half prior with both sides unwilling to give ground either way. DZ Harmon and Nicque Daley connected in the 56th minute to try to break the game open, but the Loudoun defense held firm and Harmon was shown a yellow for a foul on Fordah. Geobel Perez, Zeiko Lewis and Burke Fahling would all take shots across the next 22 minutes of action, but none could convert. Loudoun’s Theodore Ku-Dipietrio provided an opportunity for the visitors, but his left-footed shot missed wide left.
The match was decided in the 79th minute when Robbie Crawford, who came in 15 minutes earlier off the bench, scored from outside the box. The Scotsman was assisted by his former Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar (FH) teammate Zeiko Lewis before uncorking a driving shot that would rattle off the left post and head into the back of the net. The goal was Crawford’s first of the season in his first match back since July 7. The match would play out with the result unchanged, although tempers started to flare in the latter stages with Romario Piggott and Fordah both receiving a yellow card in the 84th minute. Piggott came close to doubling Charleston’s lead in the stoppage time but his attempt was saved. Charleston’s victory came in style as Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser celebrated his 51st birthday with three points won.
The night also featured a Battery and USL Championship debut for loanee defender Frank Nodarse. Nordarse checked into the match as a substitute in the 67th minute.
Coach Anhaeuser was proud of his squad’s ability to rally in the second half and win the match late.
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