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Mariners hold off Atlanta 4-3

August 6, 2004 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Virginia Beach Mariners News Release

Atlanta – In a must-win match for both teams, the sixth place Virginia Beach Mariners (10-10-3, 33 points) outlasted the fourth place Atlanta Silverbacks 4-3 Friday night in a match that was played at breakneck speed for the first 45 minutes. The win pulls the Mariners to within striking distance of Atlanta for the fourth and final playoff spot. Fifth place Syracuse tied Rochester 1-1. The Mariners have now won four of their last five.

The goals in the first half came quickly and often starting with an unassisted strike by Mariner forward Carlos Garcia in the 9th minute when he gathered in the ball as it bounced around the box, and hit it past Atlanta keeper Anthony Topkah. Atlanta (12-7-2, 38 points) drew even three minutes later on a Mac Cozier shot off an assist by Alex Pineda-Chacon and then took the lead 2-1 at the 18-minute mark when Cozier headed in a John Ball corner.

MarinersÂ’ midfielder Hamisi Amani-Dove tied the score eight minutes later when Garcia played the ball from the left wing into the box and DoveÂ’s low shot found the net. In the 26th minute Dante Washington put the Mariners up one off another Garcia assist when Washington took a feed from Garcia and scored from 12 yards out. The Mariners were almost up by two just two minutes before the halftime whistle but another Washington goal was called back on an offside call. The first half ended 3-3.

The Mariners started charging again to start the second half. Washington found himself alone at the top of the box and Topkah came out to challenge, but WashingtonÂ’s chip hit the crossbar. Winkle worked himself one-on-one with Topkah and also hit the crossbar.

The game was finally decided in the 77th minute when midfielder Nate Winkel made a nice cross to defender Kevin Knott just outside the box. Knott dribbled in and netted a low shot. “The game was so wide open,” said head coach Shawn McDonald. “We had brilliant counter attacks and we attacked on the flanks. Both teams played well offensively in the first half. This was definitely a game of two halves.”

The Mariners will face Atlanta again on Wednesday night at the Sportsplex at 7:30 p.m.

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