Report: Real Maryland 2- Wilmington Hammerheads 1
An 87th minute spot kick by Nilson Perez gave Real Maryland a 2-1 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads in front of 2,236 boisterous fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The loss ends Wilmington’s hopes of claiming the final USL-2 berth in the US Open Cup.
Real Maryland started the match quickly and in the seventh minute Muner Hassen won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Dennis Alas stepped up to the dead ball and fired his shot towards the far corner, but Wilmington keeper John O’Hara got down well to tip the ball around the far post. It was a warning sign of things to come.
In the 24th minute, Wilmington was reduced to ten men when referee Robert Fereday showed Trey Alexander a straight red card for a dangerous tackle from behind.
Despite going down a man, however, Wilmington took the lead two minutes later. Josh Smith swung in a corner kick and Mark Nerkowski rose unmarked in the box and firmly planted his header into the upper corner.
The lead lasted until just before half-time. In the 42nd minute, Real Maryland forward Nilson Perez won a free kick at the top of the box. Once again Alas stepped up to the ball, but this time his shot beat O’Hara low and to the far post.
The Monarchs dominated possession in the second half but found it hard to break down a Hammerheads defense keeping nine men behind the ball.
The breakthrough came in the 87th minute when substitute Ronald Cerritos fired a shot in on goal. The ball hit off the hand of a Hammerheads’ defender and the man in the middle pointed to the spot.
Perez stepped up to take the penalty. O’Hara guessed right in the Hammerheads’ goal, but the Colombian’s shot was perfectly placed, rolling just inside the left post.
There were a few nervous moments as Wilmington pressed for the equalizer, but Real Maryland held on to claim its second come from behind victory in the space of two weeks.
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