Valour 2-3 Forge: Hammers Stay Resilient, Claim Huge Win
For the first time since 2019, Forge FC managed to defeat Valour at IG Field. In what was a back-and-forth encounter, the Hamiltonians grabbed a vital 3-2 win.
After prevailing 3-1 at York United in their previous game, Valour had ended their three-game losing streak. The Winnipeg-based then club came into the early Sunday afternoon clash with the same starting eleven as their last match.
For Forge, unbeaten in five (though they have just one win in that run), they made three changes from their 0-0 draw at home to Cavalry last Saturday. Canada U-17 call-up Kevaughn Tavernier got his first start in the team, with Garven Metusala and Aboubacar Sissoko also entering the starting eleven.
Valour had the first meaningful chance eight minutes in. Matteo de Brienne whipped an excellent ball in to Kian Williams, whose header went just wide. It was a great opportunity for the hosts.
They would be made to pay for it, as just two minutes later, Forge took the lead. A long ball from Manjrekar James found Sissoko, who lobbed an onrushing Rayane Yesli to put Forge in front.
The lead would not last long for the visitors, as Valour equalized just two minutes later. After Williams forces a save from Triston Henry, de Brienne played the ball back to the attacker, who makes no mistake on the second attempt.
Williams was a menace for the Forge defense throughout the first 20 minutes. He had a chance to double his tally for the game early on, but this time he dragged his shot wide of the mark.
The home team continued to create chances. At the half hour point of the opening stanza, Juan Pablo Sanchez forced a save from Henry. Having turned his marker, the midfielder hit a powerful strike that required yet another intervention from the Forge goalkeeper.
As hal-ftime loomed, Valour continued to look more threatening with their shots. This time, it was Walter Ponce who tested Henry, as the striker’s header saw the Hammers’ keeper make an acrobatic save.
Yesli was called into action a few minutes into the second half, as Tavernier did well to slip in Terran Campbell. The striker’s shot, however, was saved by Yesli to keep the score level.
The home team took the lead just before the hour mark. A beautiful through ball from Matteo Polisi went to de Brienne, whose initial touch was heavy, allowing Henry to come out and grab the ball. However, as Henry came down with the ball, it was deemed that de Brienne managed to win the ball, tapping the ball home, despite Henry still having his hands on the ball. The goal stood, which led to the anger of Forge players and coaching staff.
Once again, a lead would not last long. A trio of Forge substitutes played their part in their equalizer. Alessando Hojabrpour’s pass to Rezart Rama allowed the latter to break free and find Woobens Pacius in the box. Pacius, who scored a hat-trick in Forge’s last away game, tapped the ball home from point black range to level the score at two.
In the 84th minute, Forge took the lead for the second time in the game. Beni Badibanga’s knuckleball of a free kick fooled Yesli, the ball going into the bottom corner.
In stoppage time, Pacius had a glorious chance at a second. Found in the box by Tristan Borges, Pacius’ shot failed to hit the target, going well over the bar.
That was the last chance of the match, as Valour seldom tested Henry after conceding the third game. Forge’s 3-2 victory at IG Field put them second in the league at the time of writing. Next for Bobby Smyrniotis’ side is a massive home game against Pacific next Saturday night.
As for Valour, they remain in seventh spot with 23 points from 24 games. Next for them is a midweek clash at home to Vancouver FC. Should the Winnipeggers fail to collect points in this match, they will become the second team – joining VFC after their weekend loss – to be officially eliminated from the CPL playoffs.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League