For two seasons, the Carolina RailHawks owned the Charleston Battery.
That didn't seem to matter Tuesday night.
Lamar Neagle and Rudolph Mayard each scored in the first half to lead Charleston past Carolina, 2-1, in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before a crowd of 1,409 at Blackbaud Stadium.
With the victory, the Battery will take on Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire next Tuesday night in Chicago in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
From 2007 and 2008, the RailHawks won six straight games against the Battery when the two teams were rivals in the old USL First Division.
"That was a long time ago," said Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. "They were always close games when we played, but we seemed to commit a silly foul or they'd score on a free kick and end up winning."
A year ago, things turned in Charleston's favor as the Battery won two of three matches. With the near collapse of the USL First Division, the Battery dropped down to the USL Second Division in February, leaving a dozen teams scrambling to form the USSF-2 for the summer.
While technically Charleston was facing a team from a higher division, Anhaeuser and the Battery players rarely mentioned that fact leading up to the game.
"I don't think I brought it up once this week with the guys," Anhaeuser said. "To be honest, I'm kind of tired about talking about it. "We're both professional teams. We both have professional players. We're just in different leagues."
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, the Battery seemed to find their legs and looked like the team from the higher division, dominating large chunks of the match.
"We played against them in the preseason and I definitely felt like we were equal to them," said Neagle, who notched his team-high 10th goal of the season.
"They usually have a pretty good team in their division, so I definitely think we can compete against anyone from their league."
A few more fortunate bounces in the second half and the game could have been a blowout.
"We had chances to go up 3-0 or 4-0 early in the second half," said Charleston captain Stephen Armstrong. "We've got to learn to put teams away when we've got them down. We relaxed a little bit and let them back in the game."
Most of the talk following the game focused on the upcoming match with the Chicago Fire.
"It's a great opportunity for everyone," Neagle said. "You want to play against the best competition and this is certainly ours to open some eyes."
The Battery grabbed a 1-0 lead on Mayard's header in the 23rd minute off a corner kick. Armstrong sent a bending ball to the back post. Mayard jumped over the back of a RailHawks defender and snapped the ball past Carolina keeper Eric Reed for the score.
"Just a beautiful cross by Stephen and a great finish from Rudolph," Anhaeuser said. "(Mayard) has the ability to finish in the air."
Charleston pushed its advantage to 2-0 on Neagle's goal in the 41st minute. After a free kick, Alioune Gueye picked up a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box. Gueye slid the ball to Neagle, who stepped past a RailHawks defender and slipped the ball past Reed for the score.
The Battery nearly took a 3-0 lead before halftime when Ian Fuller crossed a ball that glanced off the head of Tom Heinemann, but over the crossbar just before intermission.
With the RailHawks defense pushed up the field, the Battery had three mini-breakaways early in the second half. But Mayard, Neagle and Gueye all failed to find the mark.
"We very easily could have finished the game right there," Anhaeuser said. "We need to be a little more technical in those situations."
The RailHawks closed the gap to 2-1 on Greg Shields goal in the 63rd minute.
The Battery appeared to make the score 3-1 on a beautiful passing play from Josh Bolton to Neagle to Heinemann in the 77th minute. However, Heinemann was ruled offside on the play.
--Midfielder Kevin Jackson (ankle) missed the game with an injury.
--Carolina defender Matt Bobo played for the Battery last season.
--Captain Stephen Armstrong left the game in the 63rd minute with an apparent leg injury.