Matthews (NC) - On Saturday night, the Charlotte Independence fell behind Ottawa Fury early but Lewis Hilton’s late heroics saved a point for the Jacks. In the 11th minute Jamar Dixon headed in a Jonathan Barden cross which beat Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell.
“I thought we didn't start poorly, but we didn't put enough energy and concentration and gave up a goal off a second chance and a set piece” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “The rest of the game was an uphill fight.”
However, the Independence maintained control of the ball throughout the game finishing with 65% possession. In the 89th minute, the Independence finally broke through when Austin Yearwood picked out Lewis Hilton for a one-touch volley and his fourth goal of the season.
"We did a great job of creating scoring opportunities throughout the night,” said Hilton. ”It's always good to get on the score sheet, but what matters is getting the win and the 3 points.”
Even though the Independence were not able to produce a win on Saturday night, Charlotte is now on the cusp of clinching a 2017 USL playoff spot needing one point. The Independence will next face South Derby rival Charleston Battery this Wednesday, September 20th in a postponed game due to Hurricane Irma. In the 2017 Charlotte home opener, the Battery bested the Independence 2-0.
"Heading into the game on Wednesday, it's going [similar to the Ottawa game].” said Independence team Captain Bilal Duckett. “It's another playoff mentally game where we have to battle. We feel like we owe them one from the season opener."
11’ OTT: Dixon (Barden)
89’ CLT: Hilton (Yearwood)
Post Game Quotes:
Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries on the final result-
“I thought we showed a lot of heart and character in making the fight and pushing the game and had the better of a lot of plays but that's what the end of the year looks like when you play a team that's desperate for a result. It can be those kinds of nights where they do everything to break up the rhythm of the game and make it hard. They did a good job of that. We certainly deserved a goal -- we probably deserved more, but we didn't get it done early enough to give ourselves a good chance to win the game."
Defender Bilal Duckett on the final result-
"We were ready to play since we had this past week off, at this point of the season every game matters. Credit to them, they battled hard all night and made us work. The biggest thing we need to takeaway from this is that we battle back and compete until the very end to get the 1 point. While we wanted the win, we can be proud for pushing hard and trusting each other until the end."
Charlotte Independence at Charleston Battery – Sept. 20, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium