WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Make sure you check out our game coverage on the Wilmington Hammerheads on Sunday’s Coach’s Corner. The show will air at 6pm on Sunday on WWAY. We’ll have highlights and postgame reaction. Plus, we’ll feature game action from Tuesday’s loss against Real Salt Lake. Below is the team report from Saturday’s 4-2 Hammerheads win over the Los Angeles Blues.
The Wilmington Hammerheads and the LA Blues took the field at Legion Stadium for their first match up of the 2011 USL PRO season Saturday night, resulting in a 4-2 Hammerhead win after three second half goals.
The game took immediate direction when the Hammerheads found the back of the net in the first 30 seconds after kickoff. The Blues’ defensive line was caught on their heels when Hammerhead forward Andryi Budnyy received a ball from midfielder Jack Avesyan and buried a long shot from outside the corner of the eighteen yard box past LA goal keeper Oscar Duati.
Just five minutes later, the Hammerheads had another very close attempt by forward Chris Banks who beat the keeper to a bouncing ball in the box. Rather than finding the back of the net, the ball took a bounce off of the cross bar and was cleared away by a LA defender.
Soon after, an attack from LA ended in a yellow card issued to Hammerhead defender Gareth Evans after making a physical play to Chijindu Chuckwudi while protecting his keeper, Kyle Polak. This set the stage for a physical play on both sides for the remainder of the game.
The first shot on goal from LA came in the 8th min by #12 Leonard Griffin at top of the 18, but was struck low and straight to Hammerhead keeper Kyle Polak for an easy pick up. The Blues were able to equalize in the 23rd minute when #24 Cesar Rivera slipped a shot through the Hammerhead defenders and away from Polak’s grasp.
The Hammerheads continue to push hard for the lead before the half and in the 33rd minute a shot off of a corner kick ricocheted off the post by Hammerhead defender Ivan Becerra and fell out of bounds.
The 37th minute brought a fast break from the Hammerheads attack. The attempt was eventually broken up by LA midfielder Geraldo Bravo who tripped Andryi Budnyy while in pursuit of the through ball by Mulholland to Cuero. The Hammerheads free kick was denied by a diving save from LA keeper Duati, sending the teams into half time tied 1-1.
The second half action began early when in the 47th minute Hammerheads earned a free kick from near the corner mark. Both teams had several players in the box and the commotion commenced with a whistle from the center referee signaling an injured LA player.
The majority of the second half consisted of both teams have a fairly equal amount of chances on goal, but it was not until the 65th minute when Hammerhead defender Tom Parratt send a long low cross from the right side to connect with an unmarked Chris Banks who put the ball in the back of the net, sending the Hammerheads to a 2-1 lead.
The Hammerheads added a third goal when Chris Banks connected with Ivan Becerra for the diving header sending the ball past the LA goal keeper in the 77th. Soon after, Chris Murray entered the game from the bench and scored the fourth and final goal for the Hammerheads, with yet another assist from Chris Banks.
The Blues answered back to the Hammerhead scoring streak with a goal in the final minutes in the game, making the score 4-2, but it was not enough to take the lead. The Hammerheads defense remained strong through the five minutes of stoppage time and gave LA their first loss on the road of their 2011 season.