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Hammerheads suffer first loss of season

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RICHMOND,VA (WWAY) -- Gerson Dos Santos and Matthew Delicâte were on target for the Richmond Kickers as they overcame an early deficit to record a 2-1 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads and remain perfect in USL PRO on Saturday night at City Stadium.

Wilmington’s high-pressure defense paid dividends early, as a Richmond turnover in the second minute led to a Hammerheads free kick just outside the penalty area. Chris Spendlove played a teasing ball into the box, and Ivan Becerra nicked in ahead of Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale to head home for a 1-0 lead in the third minute.

The Kickers were nearly able to respond immediately, but were unable to convert a host of chances in front of goal in the seventh minute. Richmond held the majority of the possession throughout the first half, but were unable to find an equalizer before the break.

Richmond began the second half with more energy than in the first, but it wasn’t until Head Coach Leigh Cowlishaw made a triple substitution in the 58th minute that the Kickers were able to capitalize on their pressure. Good defensive work in the 65th minute by Richmond substitute David Bulow resulted in a misplayed Wilmington clearance, which fell to the feet of Gerson Dos Santos 35 yards from goal. The midfielder unleashed an unstoppable low drive past rookie goalkeeper Brock Duckworth to tie the score at one apiece.

Wilmington winger Paul Nicholson fired his own long-distance shot seven minutes later, but his powerful effort careened off the crossbar and was cleared. Wilmington continued to press for the go-ahead goal, but the Kickers were able to counter in the 80th minute when Luke Vercollone’s clearance arrived at Shaka Bangura’s feet. The substitute flicked the ball over a Wilmington defender, raced ahead toward the penalty area and passed to Delicâte, who slotted his shot under Duckworth to give the Kickers a 2-1 lead.

The Hammerheads pressed for a late equalizer and were almost rewarded for their efforts in the 89th minute, but Pascale made a diving save at the post to deny striker Chris Banks’ shot and secure the victory, handing Wilmington its first loss of the season in the process.

Cowlishaw said the game was “frustrating because we made life very difficult for ourselves conceding a goal so early from a set piece we knew about and discussed, but all credit to the team. They continued to play hard and dominated from the fifth minute to the 85th minute,” he said. “There were a few nervous moments at the end, but overall I think we deserved the victory.”

WWAY's Coach's Corner will showcase Saturday's game from Richmond. The Coach's Corner will air at 6pm on Sunday on WWAY.

The Hammerheads will host FC New York on Saturday,May 14th at Legion Stadium in Wilmington.

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courtesy Richmond Kickers for portions the majority of this article...

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