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From Wilmington Hammerheads
Wilmington, NC - The Hammerheads made things difficult Friday night as the team found themselves facing a one goal deficit only seven minutes into the match. Hammerheads center back Tyler Lassiter was forced to deal with a tricky long ball lobbed in from the Kicker' midfield and lost in a battle of strength to Kickers forward Christopher Agorsor, who skillfully bodied his way onto the ball. As Lassiter tumbled to the turf, arms raised pleading for a referee's whistle that never blew, Agorsor took full advantage of his early chance on goal. Hammerheads goalkeeper Alex Horwath was forced to leave his goal line and met Agorsor at the edge of his box, but the crafty forward utilized a quality first touch to guide the ball around the sprawling keeper. Faced with an empty net, Agorsor wasted no time in sending a lofted ball into the side netting of the far post. The Kickers celebrated a well earned away goal, silencing the 3,371 fans at Legion Stadium.
Determined to make up for the defensive breakdown, Hammerheads forwards Corey Hertzog and Andriy Budnyy hooked up for an unusual equalizer only seven minutes later. Deep in the Kickers half of the field, Hertzog prepared to utilize his rare long throw-in ability, taking a few steps back from touch line before unleashing a laser-like throw, which made it all the way to the center of the six-yard box. Budnyy was positioned well and leapt above the Richmond defenders to nod a powerful header past Kickers goalkeeper, Ronnie Pascale.
The Hammerheads never looked back as the team continued to pepper RIchmond's goal with quality chances. In the 28th minute another Hertzog throw made its way into the box and the resulting congestion led to a Richmond handball. Hertzog lined up to take the penalty-kick his monster throw had earned and the young forward showed great poise as he slotted a low, hard shot past the diving Pascale.
The second half certainly belonged to the Kickers who sent shot after shot flying at Wilmington's goal. Horwath was up for every challenge, however, as the Hammerheads goalkeeper utilized every inch of his 6' 4" frame to deflect several attempts over the cross bar. As the match entered the final twenty minutes both teams looked to capitalize on counter attacking opportunities, which were growing more prevalent as players on both squads began to fatigue. Despite two dangerous attempts on the Wilmington goal during extra time, Horwath kept the Kickers from stealing two points from the home squad with a pair of crowd pleasing saves. As the final whistle sounded the Hammerheads celebrated their second win in as many matches as the team continues its impressive form of late.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Wilmington 2 0 2
Richmond 1 0 1
Christopher Agorsor (Kickers), 6th minute.
Andriy Budnyy (Hammerheads), 16th minute.
Cory Hertzog (Hammerheads), 29th minute.
Hammerheads: GK Alexander Horwath, Dylan Riley, Gareth Evans, Tyler Lassiter, Musa Yahaya, Troy Cole, Paul Nicholson, Manny Guzman, Luke Holmes, Andriy Budnyy, Cory Hertzog
Kickers: GK Ronnie Pascale, Sascha Goerres, Jason Yeisley, Ethan White, Luke Vercollone, Bobby Foglesong, Gerson Dos Santos, Mike Callahan, Ryan Heins, David Bulow, Chirs Agorsor
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Hammerheads: 11 5 8 4
Kickers: 12 3 7 2
23rd Minute: Gareth Evans (Hammerheads)
38th Minute: Troy Cole (Hammerheads)
65th Minute: Paul Nicholson (Hammerheads)
Referee: David McPhun
Senior Assistant Referee: Jeremy Smith
Assistant Referee: Michael Huntley
Fourth Official: Abbes Mansour-Hafifi
Weather: Warm and Sunny
Man of the Match: Paul Nicholson