Sunday, July 1, 2012
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua -- Antigua Barracuda FC defeated the Charleston Battery 1-0 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday night through a strike by Peter Byers in the 47th minute to record their first win in nine matches in USL PRO. The victory was Antigua's third of the season, and earned a split of the weekend series against the Battery.
The first half was largely uneventful, except for a spate of injuries to players that delayed play in the early going. Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James had to be substituted after a collision with a Charleston player in the seventh minute, being replaced by Keita Decastro. Barracudas midfielder Luke Blakely was able to continue, but only after a treatment by the medics for a clashing of heads with an opponent.
As the half progressed, the game settled and Antigua was able to string a series of passes in the final third of the field, but their finishing left a lot to be desired. Not to be outdone, the Battery were presented with opportunities to head home from unmarked headers, but failed to take them, as the half ended all square.
Immediately upon resumption, a sweeping run by Quinton Griffith down the left flank opened up the Charleston defense, and his cross was rammed home by Byers from close range. It broke a three-game scoreless streak for the Barracudas in USL PRO.
Soon after, the visitors made four changes, in an attempt to regain the advantage. Meanwhile Referee Audwin Walsh was kept busy issuing three yellow cards for unsporting behavior and dissent, and a red card to Cody Ellison for abusive language.
Notwithstanding the dismissal of Ellison, the visitors poured forward and generated, from the pressure on the Antigua defense, a number of corners that presented golden opportunities to level the game. The best of these opportunities came to Colin Falvey off a free kick by Jose Cuevas, only for his header from eight yards to go over the crossbar, while DeCastro also had to be sharp to stop efforts by Cuevas and JC Mack.
At the other end of the field, Antigua presented its own form of attack through a series fast break opportunities. Eager to cushion their thin lead, Byers in particular had the chance of the game to seal the victory, when another run by Griffith resulted in a perfect cross only for Byers to misplace his header towards an empty goal. Luckily for the home team, his earlier goal was enough to secure the points and bring some welomed cheer to the home fans.
The Barracudas next head on the road, with a visit to the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday night followed by a trip to face the Harrisburg City Islanders next Saturday. The Battery return to Blackbaud Stadium for the opening game in a home-and-home series with the Charlotte Eagles on Friday night, with the return contest on Saturday at Charlotte Christian Stadium.