RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Kickers midfielder Joseph Ngwenya posted a first half hat trick and midfielder Nate Robinson notched three assists to lead the Kickers to a 4-1 win over Antigua Barracuda FC Saturday night. Antigua midfielder Tamorley Thomas recorded his second goal of the season to avoid the shutout before the Kickers rounded out the scoreline with a Luke Vercollone tally early in the second half.
The Kickers took an early lead when 17-year old forward Michael Seaton intercepted the ball in the midfield and played it back to Vercollone in the 18th minute. The Kickers veteran midfielder served a long ball down the left flank where Nate Robinson kept it from going over the end line and whipped it across the goalmouth as Ngwenya rushed on to bury it for his first goal of the night.
Ngwenya wasted little time doubling the score, notching his second goal four minutes later. Robinson sent a cross into the box, finding Seaton in the air but the youngster collided with goalkeeper Molvin James, leaving the goal unattended. A well-positioned Brian Ownby blindly volleyed the rebound back into the mix connecting with Ngwenya at the right post who finished from point blank range.
Antigua pulled a goal back in the 35th minute when midfielder Eugine Kirwan stole the ball at the touch line and played a long ball to a streaking Thomas. The Barracuda midfielder flew down the field, beat his mark and fired a determine strike past a diving Andrew Dykstra and into the far corner.
Just before the halftime break, Ownby earned a free kick in the right corner, deep in Antigua territory. Robinson lined up the free kick at the touch line and served it to the near post where Ngwenya's flick header dipped just over James' outstretched hands to give him his first half hat trick.
The Kickers picked up where they left off after the restart, adding their fourth goal of the night in the 48th minute. Robinson battled for the ball on the right wing and played a dangerous cross into the box setting Vercollone up for a diving header past the Barracuda goalkeeper from six yards.
The Barracuda nearly cut the deficit in the 60th minute when defender George Dublin, lurking at the left post, attempted to sneak a header past Dykstra but the Kickers 'keeper threw himself into the line of fire to block his attempt.
In the final 15 minutes, James faced a barrage of shots and made several big saves to prevent further damage, averting a pair of Vercollone shots and a close call by Matthew Delicate with a dramatic kick save and other acrobatics to finish the game 4-1.
The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium on Friday, May 17 to host the Los Angeles Blues at 7:00pm.