WILMINGTON,NC (news release) — The Wilmington Hammerheads fought for a fierce comeback on Saturday night as they rode three second-half goals to a 3-1 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders at Legion Stadium in United Soccer League Action.
The Hammerheads moved to 9-5-3 in the USL standings, while the City Islanders fell to 7-5-5.
The Hammerheads pressured early on with a shot on goal in the first five minutes from forward Andryi Budnyy that was saved at the near post. The City Islanders fired back when defender Stephen Basso powered the ball high over the crossbar at the seven-minute mark.
Twenty-eight minutes into the game, Wilmington forward Chris Banks drilled a ground cross to Budnyy who knocked two back-to-back shots on target but a swift City Islanders goalkeeper, Chase Harrison, blocked both.
Minutes later, a defensive scramble in the Hammerheads’ box created an own goal by midfielder Chris Murray to give the City Islanders a 1-0 edge in the 33rd minute.
Despite a 3-2 shot advantage in the first 45 minutes, the Hammerheads went into halftime down 1-0.
Harrisburg attacked quickly in the second half with a long shot from midfielder Jason Hotchkin from outside the 18-yard line but was denied by Hammerheads goalkeeper Brock Duckworth who dove to the far post, deflecting the ball.
Wilmington continued to battle back when Budnyy dribbled down the flank and sent a ground cross to forward Andrew Cuero. Cuero slid for the ball, beating Harrison, and tucked it into the back of the net to tie the game 1-all in the 65th minute.
In the 76th minute, Hammerhead midfielder Luke Mulholland would not be satisfied with a 1-all game and snapped the deadlock, off an assist from Budnyy, one-timing the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead. Budnyy was credited with his second assist of the match.
Wilmington continued to attack and brought the crowd to its feet, yet again, in the 85th minute when midfielder Richard Jata went one-on-one with Harrison and notched another Hammerheads goal to push the margin to 3-1.
Next Friday, July 22, the Hammerheads will visit Charlotte, N.C., to take on the Charlotte Eagles at the Charlotte Christian Stadium at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the City Islanders will play to host the FC New York for a 7 p.m. kick-off next Wednesday, July 20.
Make sure you watch the Coach’s Corner on Sunday on WWAY at 6pm. We’ll have highlights and postgame reaction from players & head coach David Irving.