Wanderers Recap: Draws Continue Against Combative Cavalry
What is there to say about another draw that felt like a loss? Sure, the first 43 minutes of this game for the Wanderers was borderline the worst stretch of play we have seen from them this season, but outside of that, the clean and clear identity of Patrice Gheisar’s side was apparent for everyone to see. The strong, chippy backline that was built to use its size and pace to outmuscle opponents was strong (when the midfield kept their shape in front of them), and the marauding runs made by Halifax’s wingers found space and stretched out Cavalry’s defense.
Cavalry started the game like a horse in peak form. While they found an early goal through a great strike from Ali Musse, they would have felt like they didn’t capitalize on their opportunities, with Yann Fillion making quite a few excellent saves to keep the east coast outfit in the game. But as the clock struck 43, the Wanderers found their feet. Maybe they needed some time to shake the jet lag out of their legs, or Gheisar made a tactical adjustment. Whatever the case was, the Wanderers did something they hadn’t done all season: score two goals in a game, with both coming in a stretch of under three minutes.
For the first time this season, the Wanderers went into the dressing room for half-time with optimism instead of feeling like they had dominated most of the game and received a stunning gut-punch right as they prepared to finish the half. It was as if this Wanderers team had made a breakthrough, and goals were going in for fun.
Taking a moment to talk about the goals, they both came from excellent combination play. The first, provided by a superb Lorenzo Callegari cross, was delicately finished by Theo Collomb, who impressed with his work rate throughout the game.
The second was a punchy first-time finish by Zach Fernandez, who has turned into a good scoring option with the Wanderers so far this season.
Turning our attention to the second half, the Wanderers kept compact and defended while working to counter-attack quickly in order to pen back Cavalry. After all, offensive possession is the greatest form of defense. While Cavalry challenged the Wanderer’s backline, they never seemed like they would score.
That is, until one of the most blatant miss-calls in CPL history: a crossed ball that took an odd bounce but clearly went from thigh to Cale Loughery’s face was immediately given as a penalty without even a consultation with the linesman, who had an excellent view of the play.
Arguments aside, Myer Bevan stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home. This is where things kicked off, and the referee lost complete control of the game: Bevan and Fillion got into it, and then a full-blown melee broke out between the two squads. Eventually, only three players got yellow cards, even though it looked like a few punches were thrown, and the melee lasted well over two minutes.
Oddly, there weren’t many chances in the remaining 12 minutes until the last kick of the game, where Ethan Beckford of Cavalry banged one off of the post with a free kick that squeezed through the Wanderer’s wall. A collective sigh of relief rose from Wanderers fans, but there was also a sense that the game was robbed from them. This game will be just another example of why refereeing in the CPL needs to improve and why VAR Light might be one of the more crucial investments that the league can make in the coming years.
The Wanderers and Cavalry stay locked in a tie near the bottom of the table with five points as they have drawn every regular season game they have played. And while the Wanderers are near the bottom of the table, the league has so much parity this season that the table will be fluctuating until the last whistle.
Theo Collomb and Zach Fernandez move into a four-way tie for first in active all-time goal-scoring for the Wanderers (if you exclude Joao Morelli). The other two players are Massimo Ferrin and Aidan Daniels. All four of these players have scored two goals in their time with the club.
Jake Ruby made his season debut, and Lifumpa Mwandwe made his first bench appearance of the season.
Header Image Photo Credit: Mike Sturk / CFC Media