The following comes directly from the Richmond Kickers.
CHARLESTON, SC – The Richmond Kickers battled longtime rivals Charleston Battery to a 1-1 draw during a mid-week clash Wednesday night. Conceding an early goal to Battery midfielder Ricky Garbanzo, the Kickers rallied for the equalizer just before the break, courtesy of Samuel Asante to escape Blackbaud Stadium with a point on the road.
The back and forth affair began inside the first 15 minutes when Battery midfielder Navion Boyd served a long ball to the back of the 18 yard box. His searching pass found Heviel Cordoves in prime position to take on Brad Knighton 1v1 but the midfielder could not get enough power behind his shot as the keeper scooped up the bouncing ball.
Immediately answering with a fast–break counter, Kickers midfielder Jared Jeffrey received the distribution and fed a leading pass to George Davis IV racing down the left channel. Settling the ball at the top of the 18, the midfielder blasted a venomous right-footed strike to force goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper into action.
Ten minutes later, Garbanzo was called offside on a corner after what appeared to be the opening goal, but quickly avenged the misstep just before the half hour mark. A short throw-in pinged around the left side of the box before falling to Maikel Chang stationed 20 yards out. The Battery forward hooked a curling ball into the box, seeking Cordoves but his target was denied by a leaping William Yomby who cleared it over the endline.
Midfielder Justin Portillo’s resulting corner kick drifted across the goal mouth to Knighton who swatted it away, only to fall to the feet of Shawn Ferguson at the right post. Ferguson one-timed it back towards the far corner freeing an awaiting Garbanzo to tap it in with the outside of his foot to give the Battery an early lead.
The Kickers responded with the equalizer just before the break when forward Jason Yeisley intercepted a Battery throw-in at the midline and nodded it to Braeden Troyer on the right wing. Troyer played the ball back to Yeisley who held off his defender and squared it for an onrushing Asante. Slicing through the midfield, he danced around his mark before splitting the final two Charleston defenders as they backpedaled towards the box and buried a low driven ball into the right corner from just outside the 18.
Knotted at one goal apiece at the second half restart, the end to end action continued when Knighton sprung off his line to stifle Cordoves twice within a two-minute span. Weathering the early pressure, the Kickers retaliated with a give and go between Jeffrey and Luke Mishu that led to a Kickers corner. Jeffrey teed up the inswinger, finding defender Hugh Roberts in the air at the near post but Charleston defender Emmanuel Adjetey denied the point blank attempt with a goal line clearance.
Later, Cooper posted two big saves when Yomby delivered a long ball deep into Battery territory. Yeisley warded off defenders at the top of the box as Brian Ownby rounded the back line and fired a shot from the penalty spot, only to be blocked by the diving Battery goalkeeper. The rebound fell back to Yeisley but Cooper recovered and punched away the follow up shot.
With the final whistle looming, the Battery were awarded a last-gasp chance to steal all three points following a handball call inches from the box. Garbanzo lined up the free kick and attempted to slot the ball under the seven-man wall but Knighton dove to his right to preserve the draw.
The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium on Saturday, June 13 to host FC Montreal.