Mt. Pleasant battles surge in robberies

The town of Mount Pleasant has had 28 armed robberies in the first six months of 2007, compared with eight in the same period last year. Put another way, robberies have increased 350 percent.

It’s been an all-too-familiar formula for the Charleston Battery this season.

The Battery dominates large chunks of the game. They get plenty of quality scoring chances, but can’t seem to find the back of the net. The opposition, on the other hand, gets one or two chances, and scores. Game over.

The Battery’s 1-0 loss to Rochester on Saturday night was a classic example of just such a match before a crowd of 3,603 at Blackbaud Stadium.

The Battery, which falls to 9-7-5 (32 points) on the season, had the run of play, especially in the first half, and generated a half-dozen scoring chances, but couldn’t score.

The Rhinos had one scoring opportunity and capitalized.

“It’s frustrating to watch because we’re doing a lot of really good things,” said acting coach Stephen Armstrong, who was pressed into coaching duties after head coach Mike Anhaeuser received a red card last week against Dayton and was forced to serve a one-game suspension. “That happened a lot earlier in the season and I thought we’d moved past that. We needed to put them down early when we create the kinds of chances we had in the first half. We had a lot of the possessions and probably should have scored a couple of times. It came back to bite us in the second half.”

The Battery had three excellent scoring opportunities in the first half, the best coming off a header from Dane Kelly.

“The final third of the field has been the biggest issue for us all season,” Armstrong said.

The Rhinos broke the scoreless tie on Andrew Cox’s goal in the 68th minute. After a throw-in, the ball bounced out to Cox at the top of the 18-yard box. Cox collected the ball and shot it through a sea of legs to beat Charleston keeper Andrew Dykstra for the score.

“We need to mark a little bit better in that situation,” Armstrong said.

The Battery nearly answered a minute later when Kelly got on the end of a long ball from Cole Peverley. Kelly shouldered his way past Rochester defender Alfonso Motagalvan just outside the 18-yard box and was in on net. But Motagalvan regained his balance at the last second and tackled Kelly before he could get a shot off.

Brandon Masse had a chance in the 74th minute when he stepped past a Rochester defender, cut into the middle of the field and fired a shot on net from about 25 yards out. But Rhinos keeper Neal Kitson made a diving save to his left to end the threat.

The Battery’s final, and perhaps best, chance of the match came in the stoppage time when Nicki Paterson played a beautiful through ball to Seedy Bah. Bah ran past the Rhinos defense and was in all alone on Kitson inside the 18-yard box. But Kitson came off his line and Bah put the ball right in his midsection to end the threat.

“We need to find a way to score in situation,” Armstrong said.

Headers

-- Midfielder J.C. Mack (leg) missed the game with an injury.

-- The Battery’s next home game will be Aug. 12 against Charlotte.