CHARLESTON, S.C. – Jamaican forward Nicque Daley scored a pair of goals and Panamanian winger Romario Piggott notched a pair of assists as the Charleston Battery remained alive in the playoff race in the USL Championship’s Atlantic Division after a 4-3 victory against Hartford Athletic at Patriots Point on Sunday afternoon in a result that eliminated Hartford from postseason contention.
The Battery got out to a flying start thanks to a major error in the back by the visitors as after just 66 seconds Hartford defender Thomas Janjigian misjudged a pass back to goalkeeper Matt Lampson, sending it beyond his reach and into the goal to put Charleston ahead. The hosts then doubled their lead in more conventional fashion in the 10th minute as Piggott cut back a cross from the left byline that Daley controlled and then drove home into the right corner of the net from eight yards out.
Hartford tried to hit back five minutes later as Danny Barrera delivered a good corner kick from the left that Justin Haak headed just over the crossbar at the near post, while the Battery threatened again almost immediately as Piggott delivered another good pass that found Claudio Repetto breaking in behind the back line in the right channel only for his shot to the left corner to be kept out by a kick-save from Lampson. The teams continued to exchange chances as a sharp interception and pass by Jeciel Cedeno for the Athletic set up a chance for Preston Tabort Etaka on the turn to the left corner, but Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky was equal to the challenge and parried wide of the left post.
Daley added his second of the afternoon for the hosts two minutes before halftime as the Battery produced a well-worked move that saw Burke Fahling play a through-ball to Repetto in the left side of the penalty area that the Italian forward squared to the top of the six-yard area for Daley to tap home. The visitors pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time as Ashkanov Appolon took a short corner on the left and cut toward the goal line before driving a cross that deflected in off Piggott into his own net, but in the 58th minute Hartford was reduced to 10 men as Danny Barrera received his second yellow card of the game.
Three minutes later the Battery restored their three-goal advantage as Piggott turned in the left channel and found Fahling in space centrally. The midfielder moved toward goal and from 30 yards fired a dipping shot toward the bottom-right corner that skipped off the turf just before Lampson and hopped up into the net. DZ Harmon then went close to adding a fifth for the hosts with 14 minutes to go but was brilliantly denied twice at close range by Lampson before the Athletic pulled a goal back five minutes later as Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. controlled a ball forward by Conor McGlynn on his chest as he entered the left side of the penalty area, cut back past a defender onto his right foot and shot low into the far corner.
The Athletic then cut the deficit to a goal with two minutes remaining as Obregon intercepted a pass in the Battery half and quickly played forward to Derek Dodson in the right side of the penalty area where he centered for Kenan Hot to record his first goal for the club. Charleston saw out its victory, though, and almost added a late exclamation point through Josh Penn, who hit the crossbar in the fifth minute of stoppage time before the final whistle brought the curtain down on an eventful contest.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Nicque Daley, Charleston Battery – Daley recorded a pair of goals on his two shots for the game as his movement off the ball set up good opportunities for the hosts to capitalized on.
CHS – Thomas Janjigian (Own Goal) 2’
CHS – Nicque Daley (Romario Piggott) 10’
CHS – Nicque Daley (Claudio Repetto) 43’
HFD – Romario Piggott (Own Goal) 45+1’
CHS – Burke Fahling (Romario Piggott) 61’
HFD – Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Conor McGlynn) 81’
HFD – Kenan Hot (Derek Dodson) 88’