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Hammerheads lose to Tampa Bay 2-1

Hammerheads' opportunity for playoffs slowly diminishing

Wilmington Hammerheads 1 VSI Tampa Bay FC 2 - The Wilmington Hammerheads are running out of chances to gain the momentum they need for an opportunity to claim a spot in the playoffs as they took a 2-1 loss versus VSI Tampa Bay on Friday night at Legion Stadium. Wilmington's Shawn Nicklaw tallied his first Hammerheads goal of the season, but it was not enough to lead his team to victory as Tampa Bay's Josh Rife and Chad Burt added two goals within five minutes of each other to give Tampa Bay the final result.
The first goal of the night came off a sideline run by Wilmington midfielder Shawn Nicklaw in the 23rd minute of play. Nicklaw closed in on Tampa Bay goalkeeper Alex Horwath, sending a low ball into the corner of the net and claiming his first goal of the regular season with the Hammerheads. The Hammerheads gained an opportunity for a second goal soon after as Will Heaney chipped the ball to forward Mickael Oliveira, however Horwath deflected the ball within inches of Oliveira.  Wilmington wasn't able to hold onto their 1-0 lead for long as Tampa Bay defender Josh Rife equalized the score from a Darren Toby assist in the 33rd minute. Wilmington was left at a 2-1 deficit five minutes later as Tampa Bay midfielder Chad Burt took a long shot from 35 yards out, taking Hammerheads goalkeeper Troy Hernandez unexpectedly.
The second half of the night turned into the Hammerheads battling for another result into the back of the net, but in turn were awarded with cautions and the ejection of midfielder Will Heaney in stoppage time.
The Hammerheads will need to generate a winning streak for the remainder of the regular season to be considered for a slot in playoffs. Tampa Bay still holds the eighth position in the league rankings, allowing them the opportunity to temporarily secure the final slot for a berth in the playoffs.
The Wilmington Hammerheads will host the Charleston Battery at Legion Stadium on Friday, August 2, for 'Pink Night' in support of the Pink Ribbon Project. In their efforts to create breast cancer awareness, the Hammerheads will be donning pink jerseys during the match and are open to bidding in the 'PINK' Auction online via the Wilmington Hammerheads website.
For further information regarding the Wilmington Hammerheads, please contact (910) 777-2111 or visit online at www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.