WILMINGTON,NC (news release) — The Wilmington Hammerheads clinched a season series sweep with their second victory over the Los Angeles Blues on Saturday, 2-1, at Legion Stadium in front of a record high crowd of 5,783.
The Hammerheads (13-6-3) are 5-1-0 in their last six games and trail front running Orlando City by three points for the number one spot in the USL PRO American Division. The Blues, meanwhile, dropped to 8-6-7 in the league.
Wilmington set the pace early on with four attempts on goal in the first ten minutes.
In the 23rd minute Wilmington took its second corner kick of the half when Welsh defender Gareth Evans fought for a header to redirect the ball past Blues goalkeeper, Amir Abedzadah, but was denied the goal on an offensive foul.
The Hammerheads continued to attack and forced their third corner kick in the 30th minute. Luke Mulholland, who is the current USL PRO leading scorer, took the corner kick and lofted the ball to midfielder Manny Guzman who was eagerly waiting at the far post and headed the ball in the top corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
In the 61st minute, Blues speedy striker Peter Byers was on the finishing end of a breakaway goal. Byers beat Wilmington goalkeeper Brock Duckworth’s diving effort to the far right corner and leveled the score 1-1.
The Hammerheads rallied back in the 76th minute when forward Andryi Budnyy redirected a pass from Tom Parratt off the fingertips of Abedzadah to break the tie 2-1 and notch his 8th goal of the season.
In stoppage time forward Artur Aghasyan’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box sailed wide of the far post.
Despite picking up the pace in the second half with nine shots on goal to their one in the first half, the Blues would not find the back of the net again.
Next Wednesday, August 10, the Hammerheads will play their final home game of regular season action against the Richmond Kickers for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off. Meanwhile, the Blues will face Antigua Barracuda in a 7:30 p.m. match at the Sticky Wicket Stadium in Saint George, Antigua.
Make sure you catch our highlights and post game reaction at 11pm on Friday’s news on WWAY News Channel 3. Plus, we’ll feature the Hammerheads on Sunday’s Coach’s Corner on WWAY as well.