Report: Wilmington Hammerheads 5- Real Maryland 2
A slow start and defensive errors cost Real Maryland as the first year club sank to its 11th defeat of the season, 5-2 to the Wilmington Hammerheads at the Legion Sports Complex.
Wilmington hit the ground running and took the lead after only 50 seconds. Joshua smith was given too much freedom on the right and his cross was on point for an unmarked Jamie Holmes to head in the opening goal.
Five minutes later, the Hammerheads were at it again. Holmes beat Real Maryland goalkeeper Emilio Zelaya to a long ball at the top of the box and laid it off for Trey Alexander. The forward’s first time drive looked destined for the goal, but Monarchs’ defender Daryl Ferguson recovered to clear the ball off the line.
Ferguson’s heroics were rendered useless, however, as Wilmington took a two goal advantage on the resulting corner. Real Maryland once again showed their naivety on defending the cross.
George Corrie’s outswinger was flicked on by Holmes and landed at the feet of Ben Clark who hammered home from four yards out as the Monarch’s defense stood and watched.
After sleepwalking through the first 10 minutes of the game, Real Maryland suddenly sprung into action. The Monarchs won a free kick in midfield and Muner Hassen quickly put the ball in play, floating it over the Hammerheads defense, right into the path of Ronald Cerritos. The Real Maryland captain took one touch to bring the ball down and another to calmly dispatch his shot beyond the onrushing keeper.
Cerritos’ strike marks the first road goal in Real Maryland history and the Monarchs first goal in over four games or 424 minutes of play to be exact.
Wilmington went back on the attack and missed two glaring chances within the space of two minutes. First, Brian Cvilikas shot wildly over after getting on the end of a dangerous cross by Holmes. Clark then put a free header wide of the far post following a corner put in by Smith.
The Hammerheads paid for their inability to finish at least one of those chances as William Brindley leveled the affair in the 25th minute. Nilson Perez received the ball at the top of the box and sent a fierce drive curling towards the far post. Hammerheads’ goalkeeper John O’Hara did well to stop the initial shot, but he could only parry the ball right into the path of Brindley who gratefully banged in the equalizer.
Brindley should have put the visiting side into the lead ten minutes later. Hassen was pulling the strings in midfield and he fed a clever pass into Cerritos. The former MLS star promptly laid the ball off for Brindley. The forward got behind his defender on the right, but could only pull his shot across the face of goal.
Just as in the beginning of the game, the Real Maryland defense astonishingly shut down again in first half stoppage time. The Monarchs’ rearguard backed off, allowing Holmes to take down a long free kick on his chest, turn, and fire a low through the feet of Zelaya.
Take nothing away from Holmes. The striker did well to control the ball, turn in traffic, and complete his brace with aplomb.
While the first half was more of an end to end affair, the second half was bogged down in midfield. Of the two sides, however, the Hammerheads created more quality chances and were duly rewarded.
Ten minutes into the second half, Holmes rose highest in the area to meet a corner kick with a powerful header that beat Zelaya, but not Devline Barnes. The defender guarding the post cleared off the line with his head. Corrie picked up the clearance at the top of the box and went for glory, but Zelaya was down smartly.
Cvilikas then broke clear of the Monarchs defense, but blazed his shot high over the bar with only Zelaya to beat.
Trey Alexander then played a defense splitting pass right down the middle of the park to put Corrie in on goal. Zelaya was quick off his line to save at the feet of the forward.
The Hammerheads finally got the goal they craved ten minutes from full time. Jyler Noviello led a 4 v. 2 counter attack down the left flank and crossed the ball into Jeffrey Rowland who was sprinting down the middle. Rowland controlled the ball and flicked it past a hapless Zelaya.
Nathan Northup then tried his luck with a well struck shot from the top of the eighteen. Zelaya did well to tip over the bar.
Wilmington put the game beyond doubt in stoppage time. Monarch’s defender Stephen Basso conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Trey Alexander stepped up to the dead ball and delightfully curled his free kick over the wall and into upper corner past the disparaging dive of Zelaya.
“It’s weird to say,” Monarchs head coach Silvino Gonzalo remarked after the game, “but despite the score I thought we played well. We just made stupid defensive errors. In my opinion we scored six goals tonight. Two for us and four for them and then they scored a spectacular free kick.”
Real Maryland has no time to reflect on the loss, however, as they head to Charlotte to face the Eagles, who are perched atop the USL-2 table, in less than 24 hours.
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