BY JOHN ACE
A Nicki Paterson penalty was enough to tame the Dayton Dutch Lions as the Battery went out 1-0 winners on a tense night at the ‘Baud. Both teams had numerous chances in the game, but failed to capitalize, which had been the Battery’s main problem during their dry spell.
The sides came into the match in a three-way tie for sixth spot (with VSI Tampa Bay being the other team involved) on 27 points, and after the aforementioned 7-game winless streak, obviously, the Battery needed the full three, especially with Dayton and Tampa both having played a game less than us.
We hadn’t been on the same page recently, and looked to change that this evening. We looked lackadaisical at times and just plain tired in our recent form, like the play we were displaying early on in the season was from a whole different team.
However, this was our time to turn that form around. In front of our own fans, (who are perceived by many to be some of the best support in the league,) on our own terms, where it would be a bit easier for our key men to dictate play.
It started off a bit even, and players weren’t afraid to get stuck in on challenges to change that, with a succession of back-and-forth free kicks given away within the first 10 minutes.
Dane Kelly went down early on, when he went for a diving header after a cross came in from the right wing, falling awkwardly and apparently hurting his ankle. However, as play continued, he was getting treatment behind the goal, and was quick to get back on the pitch after he had been judged uninjured.
The first chance came on 24 minutes, when a shot from Nicki Paterson went wide of the right post. From then on, it looked as if Dayton were the better side in the first half, finding a bit more space and getting some good chances.
Early in the 2nd half, the teams came out looking to get a bit physical, with an early challenge going in and leaving the Battery looking for a free-kick, but nothing was given.
The increased physicality led to some chances, with both sides trading corner kicks in the first ten minutes or so, and the game was end to end as the teams looked for a goal.
From the 53rd minute or so, we looked to change gears, as we were the ones going forward better, applying pressure and looking especially good on the counter.
However, that bit of complacency was kicking in, making it hard to complete a pass, and we’d started to wonder if we were gonna have a good night, and get unlucky with chances and not put one away. Something some people like to call “just one of those nights.”
Due to that complacency, a chance fell to Dayton’s #17, Forward Joseph Madigan, on 56 minutes, but his shot went narrowly wide after a superb run down the left side.
The end-to-end stuff came back shortly after and Battery midfielder Mike Azira had a shot over the bar.
Then, finally, a breakthrough came as, on 60 minutes, Dane Kelly had the ball clean through, went into the box, looked to shoot before the ball was tackled away, before stumbling slightly from the follow through of the defenders’ clearance, which the referee had judged to be a foul.
After much time awaiting the kick to be taken, it was the Scot Paterson who stepped up and fired the ball past the ‘keeper, taking him to a total of six goals, which leads the team.
“I always knew I was going to score.” Paterson said of his goal, “I just had to step up and take it first!” Alluding to the time it took before the spot kick was put home.
It wasn’t all done from there though, as Dayton then proceeded to “throw the kitchen sink” at us, leading to succession of late corners, which required the Battery defence to stand tall and calm in the dying minutes.
Goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper had a great game, which included a double save from one of Dayton’s first half chances, and didn’t go unnoticed by Dayton, after he was fouled shortly after Paterson’s penalty conversion, having a Dayton attacker fall over him in a seemingly avoidable challenge. For his efforts, he picked up the Man Of The Match award at the end of the game.
TOP IMAGE: Midfielder Nicki Paterson prepares to take the Penalty Kick that snapped a 7 game winless run. Photo Credit: Kim Morgan Gregory.