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Almost

by Marissa Blackman

Tonight's match between Wilmington Hammerheads FC and New York Red Bulls II had the potential to be a high scoring one for both clubs. The game produced a total of eighteen shots.

In the beginning of the match, the Hammerheads retained possession and seemed to have the best opportunities for goals. By the one third mark of the half, the Red Bulls began getting more touches. Ten minutes later both clubs made serious attempts at goals within just seconds of each other. That sequence of events really describes the match. The Hammerheads had long passing sequences and several shots. New York was able to intermittently disrupt those passing sequences and take shots of its own.

Both teams were just shy of the goal numerous times, and both goalies were extremely vigilant. In a match where eighteen shots were attempted, there was a single goal scored. At the end of the first half, I wrote in my notes that it was the kind of match where if either team was able to sneak just one goal past the opposing club's goal keeper, that club would most likely win. That is exactly what happened. In the 70th minute, Chris Tsonis of the New York Red Bulls was finally able to do what had been impossible for everyone else.

Hammerheads forward Brian Ackley described the lead up togoal. "We made a few bad decisions going forward. We got caught 1v1, and we just didn’t track players. We didn’t track inside the 18," he said. "Another goal goes in late. Then we’re chasing the game," Ackley described a reoccurring theme for this season.

Coren Bone offered a reason for the pattern. "We have yet to really put in a full ninety minute game, so that’s come back to hunt us a little bit in some games," the midfielder noted. "Until we put in a full, solid, good performance, it’s going to be a long season, so hopefully we can change things around and start getting results."

Hammerheads goal keeper Larry Jackson made similar comments. "This season has been rough. We’re trying to grind out results. We’ve been a little close, but things happened that weren’t in our favor. More often than not, you’ve got to make the luck. You’ve got to have those chances. Right now, we just haven’t done that."

Despite the widespread disappointment, the Hammerheads express confidence that the team can improve.

"We’re not getting the results we want and as a team we’re not performing as well as we want, but I know it will get better and I trust and believe in my team," Sunny Jane expressed. "I believe in the process that we’re doing. I know that I’m not giving up on anything that we're doing, and I know they’re not going to give up on me. We just have to keep putting pieces together, learning from every game, and eventually things will get better."

"We have to keep working hard. We have to keep doing our job. It’s just about making plays. Whether we’re on the defensive end or the attacking end we have to find ways to score goals and not conceded them," said Andrae Campbell. "At some point we have to at least make it up to the fans because they still keep coming out giving us their support and the least we can do as players is give them what they came for."

Brian Anunga also expressed a desire to do more for the fans. "It’s a very difficult season. We try to get things right. We’ll work hard to get a home win because we’re happy with the fans and, looking at our performance, we’re not happy with ourselves," he said.

This result is another in a string of disappointing ones. Although the loss did not cause the Hammerheads to drop in the eastern conference table, the club remains in eleventh place.

For the next few weeks, Wilmington Hammerheads FC will be on the road. The club faces the Richmond Kickers next.





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