Wanderer’s Recap: They Won – So What Changed?
So… The Wanderers have gotten rid of the dreaded goose egg in the win column. They have also confirmed the return of Joao Morelli (albeit with an unconfirmed timeline). For all of you west of Nova Scotia, you may have heard the collective sigh of relief from the Maritimes as HFX finally put together ninetyminutes of pure, unadulterated Patrice Gheisar football. That high-pressing, possession-based, high-octane football was fully displayed from minute one, so what changed? Let’s dive in.
Firstly, I want to congratulate Patrice Gheisar and all of the rookies on the Wanderers on their first professional wins. And when I say professional, that is the key word, as this performance was the first that seemed to have the level of focus required to play Gheisar’s style. When you are playing a style that involves a high-press, high defensive line and quick, line-breaking passes, a single mistake can undo all of the hard work put in to pressure the opposing team. And for most games this season, the Wanderers made too many mistakes in areas that led to opportunities for the opposition.
And while there were mistakes made at times, they were made in places where risks could be taken. In terms of defensive pressing, the work done by Tiago Coimbra, Callum Watson and Aiden Daniels was first-rate. It was intelligent, calculated, and the work rate put Valour to shame. And if you see on the 2nd goal, it was started by Coimbra working tirelessly to turnover possession.
Speaking of Callum Watson, he finally showed why the Wanderers gave him one of the coveted international spots. It took him ten appearances, but his movement on the pitch finally looked right. Gone was the apprehension of a young professional still finding his feet, and instead was a calm but relentless mentality that made it look like he could do it day in and day out at the rainy Wanderers Grounds. His performance would’ve been solid, but the addition of two very well-taken goals was the icing on the cake for Watson’s big day.
Every week I have this section in the article, but Daniel Nimick was superb against Valour. I thought today was his best game in terms of defensive work. He was physical in defence while not letting Pacifique Niyongabire get even the slightest sniff at goal (which has been a huge task all season for any defender). He was calm and direct on the ball, which the Wanderers have been clamouring for since the form of first season Peter Schaale. I’ll be the first to say it: Daniel Nimick has the potential to play for the Canadian Men’s National Team in the future.
Finally, Andre Rampersad started on the bench today. This could have purely been rotation, or it could have been Gheisar giving Rampersad a chance to reset his mindset and recognize that his performances need to improve if he wants to keep his starting spot. We will see how this storyline develops in the coming weeks.
Win number one always feels so sweet. And with that win, the Wanderers move off of the bottom of the table and back into the battle for the fourth and fifth playoff spots. While the top three feels far away, if the Wanderers can kick on and continue this form, they should be heavily considered to make the playoffs. This was a top performance, and other teams in the league should take notice of this.
Callum Watson opened his professional goal-scoring account early in the first half and added a second early in the second half. There are now three Wanderers players with two goals scored in all competitions for the Wanderers this season.