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Charleston beats Hartford on spectacular early goal, 1-0

Charleston’s Juan Torres tries to get past Hartford’s Jordan Scarlett in Saturday’s USL Championship game in South Carolina. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic)

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 4, 2024 – Charleston’s Nick Markanich scored on a left-footed bicycle kick into the top left corner of the net just 11 minutes in the game and it was enough to lead the Battery to a 1-0 win over the Hartford Athletic Saturday in USL Championship play.

Chris Allan re-inserted a ball into the box off of a corner kick that bounced to Markanich, who leaped and delivered a left-footed bicycle kick into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Charleston (7-0-3) maintained their first place lead in the Eastern Conference while the Athletic (3-4) lost for the third time in the last four matches.

Battery goalkeeper Adam Grinwis tallied four saves while withstanding Hartford’s advances for his fifth shutout of the year. The Battery have now won five games in a row and are unbeaten in their last 10 to start the season.

“They’ve got a good, athletic team,” Charleston coach Ben Pirmann said. “(Hartford coach) Brendan Burke does a great job coaching them, so we knew that they would bounce back [from their previous loss]. We dominated a lot of the phases but they were still comfortable.

“For us, what we needed to do a little bit better was keep the attacking and possession. To fight and get the shutout is tremendous. We’ve got to be a little bit sharper on things, but we’ll regroup and get back at it on Wednesday,” Pirmann said.

After giving up the early goal, Hartford did well to weather the storm and stay within striking distance going into halftime. They blocked three of Charleston’s next five shots, and the back line didn’t break on Charleston’s 13 more touches inside the box.

In the final minutes of the half, Hartford nearly equalized. Deshane Beckford flew into the attacking third and led the ball ahead to Michee Ngalina into the box. Ngalina fed a pass to an open Romario Wililams in the middle of the box, and the Jamaican striker one-timed his shot off the right post.

Renan Ribeiro was reliable in his Athletic debut, allowing just the one goal and making five saves, including a diving stop in the 89th minute. Ngalina and Epps led Hartford’s attacking efforts, recording three shots apiece.

Hartford returns to Trinity Health Stadium on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. to face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Charleston 1, Hartford 0
At Charlston, S.C.
Hartford (3-4)            0  0  – 0
Charleston (7-0-3)    1  0 – 1
Goals: Markanich (C) 11:00; Shots: Charleston 13-9, Shots on target: Charleston, 6-4; Saves: Hartford 5, Charleston 4; Corners, Hartford: 6-5
40 (GK) Renan Riberio, 5 (DF) Triston Hodge,  23 (DF) Thomas Vancaeyezeele, 4 (DF) Jordan Scarlett (Farrell, 65’); 29 (MF) Emmanuel Samadia, 94 (MF) Marlon Hairston (Asiedu, 69’); 8 (MF) Jay Chapman, 7 (MF) Marcus Epps (Shaul, 65’); 31 (MF) Deshane Beckford (Dieng, 78’); 9 (FW) Romario Williams (Buckmaster, 78’); 11 (FW) Michee Ngalina
1 (GK) Adam Grinwis, 62 (DF) Nathan Dossantos, 16 (DF) Graham Smith, 5 (DF) Leland Archer, 2 (DF) Mark Segbers, 4 (MF) Chris Allan, 6 (MF) Aaron Molloy, 80 (MF) Juan Torres (LaCava, 78’); 8 (MF) Emilio Ycaza (Crawford, 86’); 13 (FW) Nick Markanich (Drack, 90+8’); 9 (FW) MD Myers (Gutiérrez, 90+8)

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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