Friday, April 19, 2013
WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Wilmington Hammerheads entered the 2013 USL PRO regular season with a 2-0 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC at Legion Stadium on Friday night, winning a race to beat severe weather just nestling west of the Wilmington area. Kyle Greig scored his first goal in his professional debut for the Hammerheads, while Paul Nicholson added a second to put the game away.
Both the Hammerheads and Barracudas came onto the pitch strong with a week’s worth of eagerness building up for the arrival of Friday night’s match. Hammerheads defender Gareth Evans had a header attempt early on goal in the first half, but it went wide of the left post. Hammerheads newcomer Cory Elenio followed Evans’ attempt just minutes later with a long shot from the right side, but was rejected by Barracuda goalkeeper Molvin James with the high save.
In the 34th minute, Hammerheads veteran Nicholson tried to get a foot on the ball during a scramble in front of the goal, but was denied a clear chance when Antigua cleared it away to safety. The Barracudas then came close to scoring in the 37th minute when midfielder Tamorley Thomas fired a low shot across the face of goal, only for it to go wide of the left post. Antigua followed with another attempt in the next minute that Hammerheads goalkeeper Philip Tuttle was shy of grabbing as it rolled the entire length of the goal only to go out of play.
Greig took the honor of scoring the first goal of the season in the 49th minute as he perfectly placed his finish between James and the right post, assisted by midfielder Shawn Nicklaw. Greig followed his goal with another shot in the second half, hitting the crossbar hard deflecting it to the ground, allowing Antigua for position back down the fied, while the former Kansas City Brass forward also had a goal ruled out for offside.
Nicholson snagged his first goal of the season in the 69th minute, shooting low into the right corner on the net. The opportunity came from a free kick, which found Gareth Evans in the center of the penalty area, only for the center back's effort to come back off the post before the first rebound was deflected by Antigua goalkeeper Corey Whisenhunt, who had come on for James at the halftime break.
Antigua’s defense held on well through the remainder of the second half as Hammerheads forward Steven Perry took at shot in the 80th minute after a great turn on Barracuda’s defender Omarie Daniel. Wilmington wouldn't find the net again, but they would claim all three points as they got their season off to a strong start.
The Wilmington Hammerheads travel to the West Coast next weekend to take on the Phoenix FC Wolves and the Los Angeles Blues. Both matches will be aired via live broadcast on UNATION.