Midfielder Nicki Paterson scored twice in first-half stoppage time and Dane Kelly added a third in the second half as the Battery over-powered the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Thursday night at Chartiers Valley Stadium. The win lifts the Battery (7-2-0) to within two points of the second place Rochester Rhinos with Charleston having played one game fewer.
The Battery looked sharp from the opening whistle and controlled most of the possession in the first half. Despite controlling the game it wasn't until the 42nd minute that Charleston forced Pittsburgh goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap into action.
Zach Prince started the move with a back-heel at the half-way line that set Ryan Richter away on the right. Richter slotted a pass into the path of forward Dane Kelly who hit a heavy shot at goal that Gilstrap palmed behind for a corner.
The first goal was scored in time added on at the end of the half after the Pittsburgh defense failed to clear a long throw from the far side. The ball dropped at the feet of Nicki Paterson who slammed it home from five yards out.
Moments later Paterson would have a chance to double the lead after Kelly was hauled down at the edge of the penalty-area. The referee elected to only issue a yellow-card to defender Stephen Flunder but the Battery protests at the decision were silenced by Paterson who converted the free-kick in brilliant fashion curling the ball into the top right corner.
In the 58th minute Kelly got in behind again and was brought down again. This time the referee pulled out the red card to dismiss Pittsburgh's Matt Kassel and give the Battery a man advantage.
Moments later the game changed after the Riverhounds were awarded a penalty following a challenge by defender Cody Ellison in the box. Rich Costanza slotted home to make the score 2-1.
Pittsburgh had the momentum and almost leveled eight minutes later but Charleston goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra had a reaction save. Zach Prince picked up the loose ball and picked out Richter with a long pass. Richter played a one-two with Prince at the halfway line who slotted the ball down the line for Richter to chase. Richter controlled the pass then swept the ball into the middle and Dane Kelly finished off the move with a close-range finish.
The goal killed off the game and Charleston saw out the remaining minutes to pick up the three points. The Battery continues its road-swing on Saturday night with an 8PM match versus the Dayton Dutch Lions