Walker Lifts Atlanta Silverbacks to Thrilling Win
The Atlanta Silverbacks Football Club defeated Georgia Revolution FC 3-2 Wednesday afternoon at Silverbacks Park to claim the Atlanta Derby by an aggregate score of 8-2. These two rivals met just one week ago in McDonough, where the ‘Backs dominated in every facet and earned a 5-0 victory. With the kickoff moved up to 5:00 pm from 7:00 pm, both teams began timid and not focused on the task at hand. That would erupt into an entertaining and pulse-pounding win for Atlanta and a third straight loss for the Revolution.
The story of the day for Atlanta was missed opportunities. The Revolution dominated possession early and often, but it was Atlanta failing to capitalize on turnovers. “Keka” Kamara squandered two first-half opportunities that were direct results of Silverback steals. Both times, Kamara had a one-on-one chance against Revolution goalkeeper Lewis Sharpe but failed to score. As the minutes clicked away, it seemed the missed chances would come back to haunt Atlanta similar to Saturday’s 1-1 draw on the road against Greenville FC. The ‘Backs got on the board after captain Sheriff Suma intercepted a Revolution pass at midfield and broke towards goal. Knowing his available teammates were offside, Suma held the ball and beat Sharpe for the 1-0 lead.
At this point, the Silverbacks had outscored Georgia Revolution 11-0 over the span of three plus matches (1-0, 4-0, 5-0, 1-0). It seemed that the domination of their southside counterparts would continue. But the new-look Revolution are not to be taken lightly. The Revs went on to equalize in the 41st minute after a defensive breakdown led to a dangerous counterattack. Georgia forward Ehjayson Henry made his way to the six-yard box before his shot was deflected by ‘Backs goalkeeper Theo Blachon. The redirection landed at the foot of Revs midfielder Ryan King, who buried the chance to make the score 1-1 before the halftime break.
Both teams came to the second half with more energy after a chance to cool off and regroup. It was the Revolution that capitalized on that rejuvenation when Adama Camara struck for his team-leading fourth goal of the year, giving the revs a 2-1 lead. That lead would be short lived as Atlanta answered just two minutes later. Left back Manuel Moreno served a ball into the box to the opposite side where Ibrahima Sissoko served it back into the six-yard box. Forward Nyambi Jabang shot on goal, but Keka’s deflection found the back of the net. The match was tied 2-2 with 25 minutes to decide a winner.
Both teams would have chances, but a deciding goal would not come until deep into the added time. With two water breaks and an extended stoppage for an injured player, the referee added a number of minutes onto the contest. Nimbi Jabang was chopped down by a Revolution defender in the box, earning a penalty in the waning minutes. There was not much debate amongst ‘Backs players as to who would take the shot, as midfielder Aaron Walker took the ball to the spot. He buried the shot in the bottom left corner of the net and lifted Atlanta to a 3-2 win.
Two wins against the cross-town rivals and a draw at Greenville FC has given Atlanta seven of their last nine points after back to back defeats against Asheville City SC. In the tense final moments, midfielder Aaron Walker calmly took the deciding goal into his hands.
Justin Hanover asked him about the debate, if any occurred.
“Yeah, we’ve been working on that in practice,” Walker noted. “[I’m] fortunate to have teammates that believe in me. I knew where I was going to go and that’s where I went.” Aaron, along with other veterans, knew there was more to be done on the field. “We can do better [than this performance]. We should not have left this to the last minute, but we’re happy to get the result.”
Atlanta is propelled to 3-1-2 (10 points, 1.67 PPG) while Georgia Revolution FC fall to 2-3-3 (nine points, 1.13 PPG). The Revs continue play Friday night in McDonough as they host the New Orleans Jesters.
The ‘Backs host defending NPSL Southeast Conference champions Inter Nashville FC this Saturday at Silverbacks Park, with a kickoff at 7:00 pm.
Contributor: By Jordan Coker/Atlanta Silverbacks FC
Photo Credit: Alyson Thomoff/Atlanta Silverbacks FC