ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.
And Saturday night against Charleston, it seemed as if they were staring down yet another frustratingly familiar fate.
Through most of the first half, both teams had opportunities to get ahead, but stout defenses and scrappy goalkeepers kept the game scoreless.
But as halftime neared, Joe Cole capitalized on his chance, slipping the ball past Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis in the 40th minute to give the Rowdies a lead they'd never relinquish.
With a goal from forward Martin Paterson in the 69th minute, the Rowdies won 2-0, avenging a pair of losses to Charleston earlier in the season.
"I thought it could have been one of those games where a new goalkeeper comes in and he has the game of his life," Cole said about Tambakis. "He was playing really well, but it was real important to break open that deadlock. I know it's always a good time to score, but we scored at good times."
In the early going, Charleston and Tampa Bay (8-5-7) went back and forth before the crowd of 5,619 at Al Lang Stadium, trading corner kicks and remaining nearly even in time of possession.
As halftime approached, though, the Rowdies became relentless on attack, peppering the goal with shots, including one from Paterson in the 32nd minute that was punched up and away by Tambakis just in time. Six of the Rowdies' seven first-half shots were in the box.
After Cole put the Rowdies on the board, both teams came back from the break much like they started the game. For a short time, the Charleston defense stymied any momentum Tampa Bay had, and the Battery got nothing out of a series of second-half corner kicks.
In the 68th minute, play stopped as officials attended to an injury. After play resumed, Paterson took a pass from Marcel Schafer at the top of the box and found the top corner of the net.
"I think to be honest, we dominated the game," Paterson said. "We are quite modest about that. We wouldn't just say that if we didn't.
"(Charleston is) a good team. We respected them. They beat us twice, but we were adamant we were going to get the win."