BETHLEHEM, Pa. (July 14, 2016) – Bethlehem Steel FC defeated visiting Wilmington Hammerheads FC at home Thursday, and leaped Wilmington into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Bethlehem (6-6-6, 23 points) controlled the tempo of the first half from in front of Hammerheads FC’s own net. With 13 shot attempts in the half, Steel FC had already tied a franchise record for number of shots taken.
The first goal of the match started with a breakaway run by Steel FC forward Josh Heard. When Heard reached the corner of the box, he loaded a strong right leg strike and fired the second goal of his USL career into the back of the net.
“We have a string of home games and came off a good result against Pittsburgh. So it’s good to get another result here. We’re playing well – we’re flying right now. We just have to keep it rolling,” Steel FC forward Josh Heard said.
Due to an unusually high heat index during the noon match, officials called for water breaks after 30 minutes in each half. This gave each team a good chance to catch their breath, but Bethlehem appeared to have gained the most from it.
Soon after the water break, Derrick Jones scored the second goal of the match on a true breakaway. After Jones was played through over the top, it was nothing but daylight for the 19-year-old midfielder as he easily beat Hammerhead FC goalkeeper Eric Ati over his left shoulder for a two-goal lead.
After falling behind early, Wilmington Hammerheads FC created plenty of great opportunities to climb back into the match during the second half, but still never managed to get on the board.
Steel FC forward Gabe Gissie put a dagger into Wilmington Hammerheads FC’s second wind early in the second half after he netted a 54th-minute strike and gave Bethlehem a 3-0 lead. The Liberian national’s goal was also the first of his Bethlehem Steel FC career.
Bethlehem has found a great rhythm on both sides of the field recently. With back-to-back shutouts, Steel FC is now +5 on goal differential through the first two matches of their current month-long home stance.
“It [home-field advantage] makes a big difference in this league, especially because of the travel.” Steel FC defender and team captain Ryan Richter. “These guys [Wilmington] got stuck in traffic in D.C. I’m sure they won’t use that as an excuse, but we’ll take it. Huge advantage for us.”
Steel FC will return for chapter three of their six-game home stretch in Goodman Stadium to take on Harrisburg City Islanders at 4 p.m. next Thursday, July 21. Single game and group tickets are available by visiting bethlehemsteelfc.com or by calling 844-STEELFC.
Bethlehem Steel FC 3, Wilmington Hammerheads FC 0
Shots: 11-19 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 3-5 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 5-8 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 2-3 (Bethlehem)
Fouls: 6-11 (Bethlehem)
BST – 29’ Josh Heard
BST – 42’ Derrick Jones
BST – 54’ Gabe Gissie
WIL – 29’ Stefan Defreggar (Yellow)
BST – 66’Seku Conneh (Yellow)
WIL – 83’ Liam Miller (Yellow)
WIL – 90’ Bruno Perone (Yellow)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy; Ryan Richter ©, Mickey Daly, Auston Trusty, Taylor Washington (Nick Bibbs 89’); Boluwatife Akinyode, James Chambers, Derrick Jones (Anthony Fontana 62’); Josh Heard (Jamie Luchini 71)’, Cole Missimo (Gabe Gissie 46’), Cory Burke (Seku Conneh 66’)
Substitutes not used: Badr Samir; Helbert Frederico Carriera Da Silva
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS FC STARTING XI
Eric Ati; Bruno Perone, Ashani Fairclough, Stefan Defregger (Tom Parratt 46’), Michael Mecham (Ferrety Sousa 57’); Liam Miller ©, Logan Miller, Justin Moose (Mathew Barnes-Homer 77’); Qudus Lawal (Jeff Michaud 46’), Casey Townsend (Kyle Parker 46’), Austin Martz
Substitutes not used: John Smits; Zev Taublieb
Brandon Artis, Rick Rogers (Assistant), Patrick Casey (Assistant), Kevin Lock (Fourth)
ABOUT BETHLEHEM STEEL FC
Bethlehem Steel FC joined the United Soccer League officially on Oct. 27, 2015. Based in Bethlehem, Pa. in the Lehigh Valley, it is the official USL affiliate of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Also owned and operated by Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the team started their inaugural season on March 25, 2016 at FC Montreal and played the home opener at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium on April 3, 2016. For more information about Bethlehem Steel FC, visit www.bethlehemsteelfc.com.