BY NICK JOHNSON
A typical Tuesday night usually doesn’t involve a great deal of screaming, cringing and clapping, but last night at Molly Darcy’s it was the norm.
For those not in the know, Molly Darcy’s is the official bar for all of The Charleston Battery soccer team’s away games. The pub provides fans the chance to see their team’s away games without having to travel out of town as well as offering drink specials for all Battery fans. The spacious pub gives Battery fans a whole section to themselves with four televisions dedicated to the game. Tuesday night’s fans could not have been happier.
It can get loud on a Tuesday
There were a few people milling around an hour before the Charleston Battery was due to kick off against the Charlotte Eagles in Charlotte. Several Battery supporters were at the bar area chatting with the bartender. Some were playing Foosball in their Battery jerseys or watching soccer on one of the many televisions dedicated to the sport while others were sitting at one of the long community tables trading stories, telling jokes and waiting for the game to start. The mood was very light and easy-going.
As kick-off time drew closer more fans started to show up; what started out as a small group of seven quickly doubled in size. More people came in with their kids in tow as Molly Darcy’s offers up a very nice atmosphere for families as well as sports fans. At kick-off the supporters found their seats and then their voices as the Battery took on the Eagles. The initially quiet gathering quickly turned into a noisy affair with everyone hooting at the good calls and yelling at the bad, as if the referee could actually hear them. Every kick, foul and pass was accompanied by a myriad of shouts, expletives and cheering, and passersby drawn in by the noise soon found their own seats to watch the game unfold.
Beer helps the pain
Staples for Battery fans during the match were the $8 pitchers and $10 buckets of beer, which came in handy as the game progressed. As play started to bog down in midfield, the frustrations from the fans became quite apparent. There was less clapping and cheering and the groans became more frequent. The supporters were waiting for the Battery to find their legs, which they didn’t appear to do until the end of the first half. After a lackluster first 45 with few chances, the fans dispersed to order more drinks and food.
The MVP of the night without a doubt was server Casey Blacklidge who, although he hails from Manchester, England, is a Liverpool FC fan. He was on point all night helping fans get what they needed with the usual and quirky humor that most Brits have. The second half started with great anticipation, with fans hoping that the Battery would create more chances than they had in the first half. And the Battery did start brightly, looking up to the challenge as time went on and creating several chances early in the second half. The fans could clearly sense that something was going to happen during the second half and that a goal was inevitable.
Unfortunately for everyone sitting together at the pub, it came from Charlotte. The goal was a magnificent curled free kick from Eagles fullback Shaun Francis that left Battery keeper Odisnel Cooper standing adrift and the fans at Molly Darcy’s sitting, some with their heads in their hands.
The Battery came back swinging but could not find a proper rhythm in the Eagles’ bottom third. Poor decisions and bad passes culminated in the Battery’s defeat. The final whistle blew and as the fans started to disperse one thing became extremely clear: Soccer can be cruel, and beer really does ease the pain — at least for a while.
TOP IMAGE: With a contingent of Battery fans making the road trip to Charlotte and the club taking all its injured players along for the ride, midweek turnout at Molly Darcy’s for the Battery’s disappointing 1-0 loss to the Charlotte Eagles was a bit lighter than normal. Nick Johnson photos.