Williams, Kwakwa goals power Charleston past Hartford
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Battery secured a 3-1 victory over Hartford Athletic on Saturday, snapping a six-game winless skid in commanding fashion for the home crowd at Patriots Point.
Charleston were powered by goals from Augustine Williams (2) and Enock Kwakwa that put the game out of reach for Hartford. Williams registered his second brace of the year as the Battery remain undefeated at home all-time against Hartford.
The Battery started the match on the front foot, applying early pressure high up the field. Matt Sheldon registered the night’s first shot, sending a low attempt narrowly wide of the far post after receiving a long pass from Charlie Asensio.
Charleston struck first in the 13th minute when their high press forced Hartford into an errant backward pass that led to Augustine Williams scoring his first of the night.
Sheldon was there to collect Hartford’s mistake and he picked out Williams inside the box, who then knocked the ball into the back of the net.
Hartford were undeterred, however, and looked to level the score.
After Williams and Sheldon nearly combined for another goal in the 22nd minute, the Athletic countered in the seconds that followed to score an equalizer via Prince Saydee.
Charleston were quick to restore their lead when Enock Kwakwa scored his first Battery goal in the 25th minute.
The play started with a Romario Piggott free kick that bounced around the box for Joe Schmidt to get off a shot that was saved, and Kwakwa was in the right spot to fire the rebound just under the crossbar and in.
As the half wore on, Charleston searched for a third goal before the break.
Sheldon and Williams came close in the final five minutes of the half with shots narrowly wide of the right post.
The Battery took a 2-1 lead into the interval while having the majority of passes in the final third (59 to Hartford’s 45).Play resumed with the hosts eager to pick up where they left off.
Charleston added to their lead in the 53rd minute when Charlie Asensio connected with Williams for the Battery’s third goal of the night.
Asensio played a brilliant cross from the left flank and Williams headed the ball to the far post, outside the reach of goalkeeper Yannik Oettl.
Asensio would register three chances created during the night.
The brace is Williams’ second of the season and his ninth goal overall.
Charleston’s reinforcements were also able to keep the pressure up. Within moments of coming onto the pitch, Geobel Perez fired in a strong strike in the 74th minute that forced Oettl to make a decisive save.
Up top, Alexander Dexter helped lead the charge alongside Williams.With a two-goal lead in hand, the Battery began to close out the match as the second half played out.
Charleston, however, were reduced to 10 men when Matt Sheldon was issued a straight red card for a contentious foul call in the 81st minute.
Hartford were held nearly 45 minutes with out a shot when Logan Gdula registered a shot off target against his former team in the 83rd minute. Battery goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux was called upon to make his second save of the night in the 90th minute to deny Juan Carlos Obregón Jr.
The Battery were unrelenting in their efforts to secure the three points despite the one-man disadvantage and would hold off Hartford for the victory.
Charleston remain undefeated at home against Hartford, improving that mark to 4W-0L-0D.Battery Head Coach Conor Casey applauded the team’s efforts in their victory over Hartford.
”It was a great performance, we started well and we were good with the ball,” said Coach Casey. “We scored goals early, I was pleased with the quality of the play and with the way they closed out the game being down a man late.”
The Battery tactician credited their performance to the players’ mindset and approach to tonight’s contest.
”They came out with the right attitude, they had a chat in the locker themselves before the game today and they were all just united and ready to play,” said Coach Casey. “You could see it from minute one that they came to compete and they were sharp. So, it was a great way to start the game for us, and again, just pleased with a lot of the performances tonight.”
Battery midfielder Enock Kwakwa confirmed Casey’s note about the togetherness of the locker room heading into the match and mentioned the team wanted to dedicate the victory to the Patriots Point faithful.
”We wanted to win for our fans, we wanted to go in all in and all out,” said Kwakwa. “Even though we have been doing things right, we haven’t gotten a win for them [since June]. So, we told each other, today is the day we have to go in, no matter what the situation is, we have to win this game for them.”
The team then carried that unity onto the field across the next 90 minutes of play, which included Kwakwa’s first goal with the Battery.
”From the start, we were organized and we were trying to hold each other and keep each other motivated,” said Kwakwa. “I haven’t scored for a long time now, so it was great getting my first goal for the Charleston Battery. The coaches have told me to get in the box more, so I’ve been trying to get in the box more.”
Casey highlighted both Williams and Kwakwa’s performances on the night.
”Augi has been working so hard for us, so it’s great to see him get the reward tonight,” said Coach Casey. “I couldn’t be happier for him to get on the board again tonight. Enock gets his first goal, so that’s great. We need more guys contributing on the offensive end and he was a big piece of our offense tonight.”
The Battery celebrate the victory after a stretch that included six matches in three weeks. The squad will look to build on the performance in their next match on Friday, July 22, against Western Conference powerhouse Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
”We’ll take the positive feelings from tonight and we have to keep working, keep our heads down,” said Coach Casey. “But, it should give us some confidence so we can compete and get points. We’ll have a good week of training again to prepare for the next match.”
Following the duel in Colorado, the Battery return to Patriots Point on July 30 to host Sacramento Republic FC. The team will celebrate Hometown Heroes Night, honoring Charleston’s local heroes, including fire, police and medical personnel. Tickets for the July 30 match are still available via SeatGeek, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing partner.
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