Wilmington, NC – Wilmington Hammerheads FC kicked off their 2014 USL PRO regular season tonight at Legion Stadium with a draw versus the Harrisburg City Islanders. This was the first match-up of the season for both teams.
City Islanders took possession majority of the first half as forward Clesio Baque took a run past Hammerheads defender Ashani Fairclough on the back line ending in a one-on-one with Hammerheads goalkeeper and Toronto FC loanee Quillan Roberts. The shot went wide to the left of the goal post nearly giving Harrisburg the lead in the first half.
Harrisburg’s Yann Erika followed closely behind with a shot saved by Roberts, leading to the first corner kick of the night, only to be deflected by Hammerheads midfielder Paul Nicholson reversing possession.
Bague was close to putting points on the board once more with a shot that bounced off the goal post in the 41st minute. Hammerheads forward Brian Ackley followed moments later with an attempt that deflected off the face of City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble. Ackley played off the advantage of being in City Islander’s territory with a header attempt off a cross from Toronto FC loanee Daniel Lovitz ending in a follow through attempt from rookie midfielder Steven Miller.
The Hammerheads picked up momentum in the second half with the incoming substitution of Cody Arnoux. Arnoux and Miller came close to increasing the deficit in the 75th minute with a combination of moves that led to a shot over the crossbar by Miller. Arnoux paired with a pass from Nicholson for his next attempt outside the box that went wide of the goal.
The pace remained strong from the Hammerheads throughout the half with Lovitz getting off his first shot of the season in the 88th minute that rolled just outside the goal post. Opportunities came close as the final whistle approached and midfielder Tom Parratt placed the ball at the foot of forward Mickael Oliveira for an attempt in the final minute that nearly gave the Hammerheads the one goal needed for the win.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC is scheduled to take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for their first road match of the regular season on Saturday, April 12 at Highmark Stadium.