June 8, 2013 - United Soccer League (USL) - Richmond Kickers
RICHMOND, VA - The Richmond Kickers kept their unbeaten streak alive, battling the Wilmington Hammerheads to a 1-1 draw Saturday night on a pair of second half goals in rapid fire succession. Scoreless through the first half, the Kickers broke the ice on a Philippe Davies strike in the 78th minute before conceding a Steven Perry goal thirty seconds later.
In a defensive battle riddled with set pieces, the Kickers nearly capitalized on a free kick in the 12th minute. Dangerously positioned near the top of the 18, midfielder Nate Robinson drilled a determined strike on target, forcing Hammerheads goalkeeper Troy Hernandez to leap to tip it over the bar.
The Hammerheads retaliated ten minutes later when they stripped the ball deep on the right wing and played it back to midfielder Will Heaney who rifled a distance shot that was deflected just wide of the left post.
Later, Kickers midfielder Stanley Nyazamba carried the ball deep into Hammerheads territory before serving a cross into the box from the right edge. The ball deflected to Michael Seaton at the far post but his header skimmed just over the crossbar.
With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra distributed the ball to Seaton at the 20 yard line who latched onto it, beat his defender to midfield and was off to the races on a breakaway. Hammerheads defenders caught up to the speedy forward at the top of the box and under pressure, Seaton misfired a back heel pass. Recovering the loose ball, he ended up sandwiched between defenders and was taken down inches from the 18 yard line. Nyazamba lined up the resulting free kick but his low shot was stifled through traffic and smothered by Hernandez.
The stop-and-go-play continued after the restart as free kicks and corners consumed much of the early going. After Heaney put Dykstra's acrobatics to the test with a low driven shot to the far post in the 53rd minute, Kickers midfielder Juan Arbelaez carried the ball down the right wing and fired a rising shot that soared just over the woodwork.
The Kickers skied another golden opportunity in the 70th minute when midfielder Joseph Ngwenya collected the ball at the right edge of the box and played a square pass to Joseph Haboush but the rookie midfielder's one-time volley glanced just over the crossbar.
Entering the match just four minutes earlier, Davies broke the deadlock in the 78th minute. Receiving the ball from Michael Callahan on the right wing, he unleashed a 25-yard laser to the upper 90 to give the home side a short-lived lead.
The celebrations were fleeting as Wilmington immediately leveled the score on the restart when Daniel Roberts charged down the field and fed a through ball to Perry who turned his mark and buried the equalizer from point blank range.
The match opened up with 10 minutes remaining as both teams searched for the game-winner. Weathering a flurry of activity, Dykstra made one last save in stoppage time when Perry broke through and collided with him but the stalwart goalkeeper held his ground to preserve the draw.
The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium next Friday, June 14 to host Antigua Barracuda FC at 7:00 p.m. and the third annual Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award will be presented to a youth soccer player during halftime. The Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award was established to honor Kickers youth player, Avery Spence, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on May 1, 2011. In honor of Avery's #7 jersey, admission to the Kickers pro game will be $7.00 per person, in advance at RichmondKickers.com.