HFX Wanderers 2-1 Forge: Nimick Wins It At The Death
In what was a game of few big chances, the Halifax Wanderers left it late to defeat Forge 2-1 at Wanderers Grounds. A last minute penalty made all the difference in Nova Scotia as the hosts won a huge game.
Unbeaten in three matches, Halifax came into the match well-rested as they did not have a match last weekend. Their most recent outing was a dramatic 2-2 draw against York United. Ahead of this tie, however, Wanderers coach Patrice Gheisar made two changes in his starting eleven.
After going winless in five games – which included a three-game losing skid – Forge got back to winning ways last Sunday following a thrilling 4-3 victory over Atlético Ottawa. As such, coach Bobby Smyrniotis only made one adjustment to his starting lineup. Malik Owolabi-Belewu made way for Alexander Achiniotti-Jonsson at center back.
The first meaningful effort of the game came eleven minutes in when the ball fell to Massimo Ferrin just outside of the box. His effort took a massive deflection off of Achiniotti-Jonsson which went] just wide.
Much of the first half was dominated by the Wanderers, and they took a deserved lead. A superb long ball from Daniel Nimick found Ferrin, whose first touch took him past Rezart Rama. The wide man cut in, dribbling across the field. Ferrin’s low shot beat Triston Henry to his left.
There were relatively few clear-cut chances in the opening half, with the home side looking the more potent side. Forge created next to nothing in the attacking third, and could not really argue with the halftime result.
The opening part of the second half saw the Hammers start to carry the game in search of an equalizer. While they again failed to create much going forward, there was more intent from them.
Forge’s best chance of the game came in the 78th minute. Woobens Pacius broke into the box, finding substitute Noah Jensen. Despite going the opposite way, Wanderers keeper Yann Fillion managed to get a hand on Jensen’s shot.
Minutes before the end of normal time, Forge managed to equalize. Malcolm Duncan’s cross hit Kwasi Poku and fell to Tristan Borges. As a result of the deflection, the Halifax defense was a bit stretched. Borges moved towards the center looking to take a shot. Instead, the winger played it to Bekker, who unleashed a powerful left-footed shot past Fillion.
At the start of stoppage time, the Wanderers nearly retook the lead. Riley Ferrazzo was afforded enough space to have a go from outside the box. Unfortunately for the substitute, his effort did not go on target.
Bekker had another chance from outside of the box in added time, but he could not replicate his magic, with his shot going well over.
In the dying moments, Halifax won a penalty. A long ball saw Ferrazzo one-on-one with Henry. The Forge keeper brought down the substitute, with the play continuing. Fellow sub Callum Watson took the shot which was blocked on the line by Achiniotti-Jonsson. Right after that, referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin blew her whistle, pointing to the spot.
Nimick stepped up to take the ensuing penalty. Naturally, several Forge players came up to the referee to protest the decision. Henry was also booked for taking down Ferrazzo. When the dust settled and the penalty was finally allowed to be taken, Nimick made no mistake, sending Henry the wrong way.
Essentially no time remained following the penalty, as HFX Wanderers walked away with a crucial 2-1 win over Forge. In what is now their third home win in a row, the east coast club moves up to fourth place with 16 points. Their next game will see them go to the other side of the country to face Vancouver FC. That will be next Friday night.
As for Forge, it is a fifth defeat in their last seven. It could not be any more contrasting to their start to the campaign where they went unbeaten in their first seven. Next up for the Hamiltonians will be a 905 Derby at York United.
That game will be the second match of a League1 Ontario – CPL doubleheader as both club’s development teams – Sigma FC and Alliance United respectively – take to the pitch in what will be a crucial game for both sides.
Header Image Photo Credit: Trevor MacMillan / Halifax Wanderers FC