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Charleston continues to torment Hartford with victories in final minutes

Hartford’s Edgardo Rito controls the ball during Saturday night’s USL Championship game in Hartford. Charleston won 4-3 with two goals in the final 3 minutes of regulation. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic_

The Charleston Battery, the top team in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, are just tormenting the Hartford Athletic this season.

The Battery won the first meeting between the two teams on April 8 with a last-second goal.

On Saturday night, Charleston (8-4-4) scored twice in the final three minutes of the regulation to stun Hartford Athletic, 4-3 in a USL Championship contest at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford.

Hartford (2-9-4), which is last in the Eastern Conference, played a majority of the second half a man down and nearly came away with the big upset win.

“It was a tough loss, just like the other ones. We give up late goals, this is another one,” Athletic assistant coach Omid Namazi said. “We just have to be better defensively and be more compact, not allow teams to penetrate us so easily.”

“There is nothing positive about this,” he said. “We have to go back to the drawing board and get better defensively.”

The Athletic led 2-1 at the half but the second half got off to a poor start for Hartford when Antoine Hoppenot was given his second yellow card and subsequent red card just two minutes in. Hartford was now tasked with the challenge of keeping Charleston off the board while down a man and only up a goal.

Relentlessly, Hartford continued to play the ball forward with 10 men and drew a penalty when Luke Merrill was tackled in Charleston’s box. Edwards took the try and buried his shot confidently into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the night and sixth of the season.

Just nine minutes after going down a man, Hartford extended their lead to 3-1, just their third two-goal lead in USL Championship play this season.

Charleston answered when Nick Markanich struck for a second time in the contest in the 64th minute. Donte Polvara received the ball in the box off a short corner and laid it off to Markanich at the top of the box, who roofed his shot to the top of the net.

The Green and Blue were able to stave off the Charleston attack for the following 23 minutes, surrendering just three shots that were all off target, but could not hold on in the later stages.

With three minutes left in regulation, Charleston’s Arturo Rodriguez looped a cross into the box that forced Hartford goalie Joe Rice back towards the goal line. Rice blocked the cross down to the ground, but it fell to Derek Dodson and the former Hartford Athletic forward fired his shot into the open net, tying the game at 3-3 in the 87th minute.

Three minutes later, Charleston’s Arthur Paterson put a dagger through Hartford. The Charleston captain was given space in outside of Hartford’s box and launched his shot off the left post and in, giving the Battery a 4-3 lead in the 90th minute. They would hold on through six minutes of stoppage time to secure the win.

Hartford Athletic struck first in Saturday’s match. After getting deep into Charleston’s third up the left flank, Antoine Hoppenot looped a cross into the box. The ball deflected off Charleston’s Deklan Wynne and fell to Andre Lewis, who pinged his shot off the right post and in to give Hartford a 1-0 lead.

Tied at 1-1, Hartford took the lead at the half. Antoine Hoppenot was involved again, playing a ball forward into the box for Edgardo Rito. The wingback played the ball off one bounce and banged a shot off the crossbar and down in front of the goal line, where Kyle Edwards headed the rebound into the open net.

Hartford returns to action next Saturday night when they host Indianapolis Eleven at 7 p.m. at Trinity Health Stadium.

Charleston 4, Hartford 3
At Hartford
Charleston (8-4-4)        1  3  — 4
Hartford (2-9-4)             2  1  — 3
Goals: Andre Lewis (H) 31, Kyle Edwards (H) 2, 45+3, 57 (PK), Nike Markanich (C) 2, 43, 64, Derek Dodson (C) 87, A.J. Paterson (C) 90; Shots on target: Charleston 5-3, Shots: Charleston, 21-5; Corners: Charleston, 13-0; Saves: Joe Rice (H) 1, Trey Muse (C) 0
Hartford — 13 (GK) Joe Rice, 3 (DF) Kaveh Rad, 16 (DF) Matt Sheldon, 22 (DF) Robin Lapert, 72 (DF) Edgardo Rito, 8 (MF) Juan Pablo Torres (Makangila, 74’);  28 (MF) Conor McGlynn, 77 (MF) Andre Lewis, 17 (FW) Kyle Edwards (Saydee, 74’);  29 (FW) Antoine Hoppenot, 9 (FW) Elvis Amoh (Merrill, 52’)
Charleston — 25 (GK) Trey Muse, 28 (DF) Deklan Wynne, 20 (DF) AJ Paterson, 14 (DF), Derek Dodson, 4 (MF) Chris Allan (Trager, 74’); 12 (MF) Arturo Rodriguez, 6 (MF) Donte Polvera, 19 (MF) Robbie Crawford, 13 (FW) Nick Markanich (Booth, 90+4’);  69 (FW) Roberto Avila (Schmidt, 90+3’); 11 (FW) Fidel Barajas (Apodaca 90+5’)

Information  from a Hartford Athletic release was included in this report

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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