ELKINS, W.Va – While Davis and Elkins may have jumped Charleston in the national polls on Wednesday, that didn’t make the match between the two any lower stakes.
The battle between the eighth-ranked Senators and 11th-ranked Golden Eagles lived up to the hype and more with the energy and physicality at a fever pitch from kickoff in front of a capacity crowd at Nuttall Field.
D&E got a great look at goal in the opening seconds as Haruki Yamazaki sent a long ball forward off kickoff that was picked up by Martin Lago who chipped it to the back post and Manuel Castrejon’s shot went just wide.
The trading of chances went back and forth until the eighth minute when Eduardo Barros found the ball at his feet in the Senators box and hammered a twisting shot into the bottom right corner past Beltran Fernandez to put Charleston ahead, 1-0.
With plenty of bumps and bruises along the way, each team’s back lines settled in with the center back pairing of Davide Materazzi and Josh Gabriel consistently winning balls away from the Golden Eagle attack.
The building momentum for the Senators came to a head in the 21st minute as Bruno Rivera approached a free kick from 40 yards.
While it was initially headed away, Materazzi was able to corral the deflection and find an angle to get a shot away, hammering it into the top of the net to equalize at one.
In terms of chances, the home team dominated the remainder of the first half with plenty of looks at goal for D&E but Marc Torrado was up to the task for Charleston for the final 25 minute before halftime.
The trading of blows continued into the late stages of the match when the Golden Eagles committed a foul in the box, giving the Senators a golden opportunity to take the with a penalty.
Once again the hero, Materazzi stepped to the spot and the Italian beat Torrado once again for the game-winner as Fernandez was able to hold off the Charleston attack for the final ten minutes.
With both goals coming from Davide Materazzi, Davis and Elkins takes round one from Charleston, 2-1.