Wednesday, August 8, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders wanted to end their final regular-season game at home on a high note, said Harrisburg defender Bilal Duckett. They succeeded, scoring twice before halftime and adding a late goal in a 3-0 win against the visiting Charleston Battery on Wednesday night.
“We’ve made some mistakes at home,” Duckett said. “But for us to finish here strong gives us confidence heading into playoffs.”
Confidence defined the home team’s play as they struck twice in quick succession in the first half, and dominated possession for the remainder of the game. Before a crowd of 1,605 at Skyline Sports Complex, the Islanders took the advantage after striker Brian Ombiji broke free and was taken down from behind by Battery defender Kyle Hoffer in the 25th minute. Referee John Douglas quickly sent Hoffer off with a red card, his second in four games.
Five minutes later, the Islanders cashed in on an opportunity as Tom Mellor barreled a shot toward Charleston goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra from the left of the penalty area. Dykstra parried the initial shot, but Ombiji was there to clean up the rebound.
Mellor would add his fourth goal of the season in the 36th minute, curling a free kick from the top of the penalty area over the Battery’s wall and the outstretched hands of Dykstra into the top-right corner of the net. From then on, the Islanders continued to press Charleston’s defense, outshooting the Battery seven to two in the first half.
Harrisburg would pour in nine more shot attempts in the second half, keeping the Battery on its heels. Dykstra collected seven saves on the night, but could not atone for a defensive breakdown in the 83rd minute as the Battery got caught on a quick counter by the Islanders, which sprang second-half substitute Lucky Mkosana for a breakaway. The Dartmouth product was composed as he slid a shot by an isolated – and diving – Dykstra just inside the right post.
“It helped that they went down a man relatively early,” said Duckett, who was returning from a shoulder injury. “It was a great game for me to get back and get playing. It was definitely a good game heading forward for us.”
The Battery fall to 11-10-1, while the Islanders move to 9-6-6, a point behind Charleston in the USL PRO standings. Charleston continues its road trip on Saturday when the club faces second-place Rochester at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:05 p.m. Harrisburg will also hit the road over the weekend as they visit the Richmond’s City Stadium for a Saturday matchup with the Kickers. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.