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The fifth Wilmington Hammerheads FC match of the season is complete. The Hammerheads were defeated 2-1 by longtime rival the Charleston Battery, but the true story of the match is deeper than the score.

Of course, goals are the biggest factors of the story. The two Charleston goals came within four minutes of each other before the thirty minute mark. The first goal was scored by Kevin Prince off of an assist from Maikel Chang. There were no Hammerheads to stop Prince after Chang sent him the ball. The second goal was not as easy. There were several players from both sides in the box. Although the Hammerheads did not make it as easy for the Battery the second time, Maikel Change was left with enough open space, for a split second, to slot in another for the Battery. The Hammerheads scored in the second half from a corner kick. Ashani Fairclough was the one to put it in the net.

From my perspective, the Hammerheads kept most of the possession, but possession does not necessarily warrant victory. I saw several instances of good effort and a few wasted opportunities.
Statistically, Charleston was the better team in almost all respects. Charleston scored one more goal and had three more shots on goal that the Hammerheads. Charleston forced Hammerhead goal keeper Andre Rawls to make two more saves than the Hammerheads caused Charleston goal keeper Odisnel Cooper to make. The Hammerheads did take more than triple the amount of corner kicks the Battery took. Some of the best chances of the afternoon, like the Ashani Fairclough goal, for example, stemmed from those corner kicks.

As a spectator, I am completely satisfied with this match. There were no boring moments. With a total of eight saves and three goals, I spent plenty of time on the proverbial edge of my seat.

This match retaught me a lesson that I should know well by now. Soccer is unpredictable! When I read that some of Charleston’s key player were injured, I was sure the Hammerheads would win. When I saw Charleston score twice, I was sure Charleston would win. After the Hammerheads scored, I thought either team could take it.

The Hammerheads certainly made a valiant effort. After the lone Hammerheads goal, momentum increased significantly. Victory obviously became more plausible to the Hammerheads at that moment, and every man on the field put forth maximum effort to secure it.
At this early point of the season, the Hammerheads have played five matches, attained a 1-2-2 record, and sit at seventh place in the eastern conference table. I asked a few of the players how they felt about this progress.

Tom Parratt said: “There’s no time to panic. We’re definitely on the right course where we’re trying to go. When you’re trying to change a style that we’ve had for so long, there’s going to be some speed bumps along the way, and I think we’re just hitting a couple of those. So, as long as we stay together, which we are in the changing rooms, and everybody’s bought into it, we’ll be fine in the long run.”

Matt Glaeser said: “We play soccer the right way, and we have a style that we’re trying to implement and change. It’s growing. It’s a work in progress, but we feel good about it and we’re going to continue to do the things that we’re trying to do and get results. We feel like, if we continue to play the right way, the results will come.”

In regards to today’s match Marc Godelman commented: “In the first half, we came out a little sluggish with two early goals, but in the second half, we came back fighting. Some guys came in and played well.”

The Hammerheads next game will also be at home on Satuday May 2nd (The day I take SATs. Yikes!) against the Harrisburg City Islanders.

In between doing some last minute studying, I’ll try to post #GameDayEve this Friday. If not, I’ll definitely post some #PreGameTweets on Saturday evening.

--Marissa Blackman

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