R.J. Bass’ late winner gave Myrtle Beach Mutiny a 2-1 victory over FC Carolina Discoveries on Friday night at Manchester Meadows.
Bass’ snap header in the 85th minute put the visitors back in front after former Winthrop striker Achille Obougou scored for Discoveries in the 58th minute to tie the National Professional Soccer League game, Discoveries’ inaugural competitive match as a club. The Mutiny win may have soured the festivities slightly, but Discoveries coach Dave Carton, mingling with a crowd of fans afterward, still felt the night was a success.
“I’m not disappointed one bit,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I’m very, very proud. We thought at halftime that if we made a couple of adjustments in the wide areas that we might be a little more threatening and I think our reaction in the second half was fantastic. For the first night out, I’m very happy with the response from the fans.”
“Delighted to win with such a late-game winner,” said Jack Vondum, Myrtle Beach’s coach. “They played well, had good spells of possession, but we kept hitting them on the break. In the end we took our chances.”
Myrtle Beach took a 1-0 lead into the halftime interval.
Discoveries had several chances to grab the lead before then, Alex Isern heading wide when left alone in the six-yard box, and Marc Segarra scoring in the 19th minute, only to be ruled out. It appeared as if Achille Obougou’s low shot on the turn would find the corner on its own, but Segarra tapped in to be safe. He was in an offside position, though, and the goal was waived off.
Mutiny right back Anardo Oakley did open the scoring with a wonder-strike in the 33rd minute that, he admitted shortly afterward to his coach, was intended as a cross. Brett Lucia over-hit his cross to the back post, but Oakley, flying in unmarked, opened up his foot and side-volleyed into the opposite left corner for the opener.
Discoveries reorganized at halftime and made several changes, bringing on Zhouvonte Wilson and Fort Mill’s Connor Agnew. Both players sparked the hosts’ midfield, Wilson especially with his pace out wide.
“He gave us something different,” said Carton. “If there’s one thing defenders hate playing against, it’s pace. And Zhouvonte has got raw pace. He’s very bright with the ball at his feet as well.”
Agnew showed drive in the center of the park, and he nearly set up Discoveries’ equalizer. Discoveries caught Myrtle Beach on the counter-attack and Agnew prodded the ball ahead for Isern, who lobbed the keeper. A recovering Mutiny defender nodded the ball away to safety and Wilson’s follow flew over the untended goal.
Wilson showed his pace a minute later when he got inside Myrtle Beach defender Thomas Tamale and cut the ball back for Obougou. The towering ex-Eagle hesitated, then dispatched a low shot into the left corner past the goalkeeper, who was partially screened by his defender, to tie the match 1-1.
The Mutiny regained a foothold in the game after Obougou’s goal, and the visitors had a penalty appeal waved away when Discoveries defender Kyle Kennedy appeared to catch Ramzy Hanson as he burst into the 18-yard box. The official waved away the cries for a penalty and instead gave Hanson a yellow card for diving.
Obougou, who at 6-foot-4 was a towering spearhead for the hosts all night, nearly put Discoveries in front in the 84th minute when he touched past the goalie, but could only stab a shot into the side netting.
Myrtle Beach made Discoveries pay just a minute later when they broke down the other end of the field. A half-cleared cross came to Kyle Murphy, who whipped in a swerving cross from the left. Bass, who had just entered the game as a substitute 10 or so minutes earlier, threw his body back at the out-swinging cross and snapped a header past Francisco Cardelle and into the top right corner of the goal, the eventual winner.
If the result dampened the mood, it hardly showed afterward as the Discoveries players and coaches personally thanked the fans that came to the game.
“It was awesome to see all this crowd here for the first game of the season,” said midfielder Alex Isern, another one of the club’s sizeable Winthrop contingent. “Unlucky not to get the result but the team played well. Everybody worked hard, first half, second half. They scored two really good goals and we cannot do anything with that.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T