July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024
Kadin Martin-Pereux

The Wanderers Recap: Matchday 12 – One Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

By on July 7, 2024 0 431 Views

Going into Saturday’s game, the Halifax Wanderers were undefeated in five and had won the last two. Going off of form alone, the Wanderers were probably the favourites, but as anyone who follows them knows, playing against York United will always be a game in which the team can stumble.

Game Recap:

Historically, when the two teams play they are close in the standings, fighting for the mid-level positions. This time it isn’t quite as close as York United came into the game with a seven-point lead over the Wanderers, but even with that advantage, the Wanderers form meant that many people weren’t sure which way the game would go.

The first ten-to-fifteen minutes saw the Wanderers start quite well, with smooth passing, patience, and a clear dominance in midfield. Excluding the goals, it was a carbon copy of their start against Vancouver FC. But, unlike the match in Langley, York United didn’t bend to the Wanderers’ will in the first fifteen minutes. Instead, they soaked up the pressure and, after winning a corner, scored on some extremely soft defending from the Wanderers.

Sometimes, you give up really soft goals. Miscommunications happen, and in this case, it allowed Markiyan Voytsekhovskyy to get free at the back post, and he had the presence of mind to place it into the net. Fair play. Once again, this season has been a story about resilience, and at times, it hasn’t shown up, and when it does, it is often too late.

Leading up to the goal, the Wanderers looked confident, assured, and patient, but afterward, the team looked a bit shell-shocked. After all, they had held two clean sheets in a row. For ten minutes, York pushed forward, sensing that the air had come out of the balloon, and mercifully the Wanderers survived that stretch, even finding a decent chance where Andre Rampersad challenged the goalkeeper from distance. This eventually led into the water break and an opportunity for the Wanderers to regroup and find their flow again.

To be fair, after the Rampersad attempt, they started testing the York keeper, Vincensini, but most of the attempts were from a distance or long. That was until Dan Nimick decided to push well forward and out of his typical defensive positioning. In the 44th, sensing that York was feeling the fatigue, Nimick burst forward, skipping past their back line and finding himself one-on-one with Vincensini: Nimick hit the ball hard and low, usually enough to score, but the French keeper did a great job to keep the ball out.

This type of dynamic movement, created through quick passing, has led to the club’s success in the last few weeks, and going into the second half, there was optimism that this would continue.

Ultimately, the break in play benefitted York more than HFX, as when the two clubs came out, they played a relatively even first ten minutes or so. Much like the first half, the Wanderers showed promise, but couldn’t find the edge, meanwhile, York capitalized, this time through Juan Cordova, who fired in a ricocheted ball that the Wanderers couldn’t clear.

Down 2-0 with 30 minutes remaining, if there was any air left in the balloon, it was gone now.

One of the criticisms that is often lobbed at Patrice Gheisar is that he waits too long at times to make substitutions, and while reactionary decisions are rarely the correct one, in this case, after the second goal conceded, it was clear that the team needed some reshuffling to regain the midfield strength the Wanderers showed in the first 15 minutes of the match. Mercifully, Patrice made some changes (albeit 10 minutes after the second goal), and the impact was felt immediately as the additional bodies in the midfield and the wings led to an immediate scoring chance. But, once again, the goals would not go in, regardless of how strong the position was for the Wanderers.

Monotonously, the game moved forward, with multiple half-chances for either team, the Wanderers gaining those chances through sustained pressure, York gaining those advantages on the counterattack. Then, as is often the case, the game sprung to life with only a few minutes left in regulation, this time with Lorenzo Callegari opening play and finding Ryan Telfer with the through ball, who, in turn, unselfishly passed to Giorgio Probo, who was able to find the back of the net after a lung-busting run.

Ryan Telfer has been exceptional lately after his rocky start in Wanderers blue: four goal contributions in three games is nothing to sniff at. Currently, he is registering a goal contribution (goal or assist) every 146 minutes (in all competitions), which, for context, is near Joao Morelli’s pace when he set the club record for 15 goal contributions (all goals) in a single season.

Back to the game, the Wanderers had three minutes plus stoppage time to find an equalizer. For a moment, it looked like they would get a chance to do just that.

Just like much of the refereeing at the 2024 Copa America, a clear and obvious decision was missed. Since the CPL does not have VAR (even though in Copa America, it hasn’t been effective), the Wanderers were denied a clear penalty. To put it simply, Zachary Fernandez was tackled inside the box.

The Wanderers would have been lucky to get a point, but York should also feel lucky that referees around the world have collectively gotten their skills Space Jam’d in recent weeks.

Standings:

W/D/L: 2/4/6 (10 Points) –

As the five-game unbeaten run has come to an end, the Wanderers stay exactly where they were in the standings, tied for seventh but sitting in last place due to tiebreaking procedures. The Wanderers have 16 more league games to overcome a six-point gap to get into the fifth and final playoff spot.

Milestones:

Aidan Daniels is now tied for fourth all-time in Wanderers appearances with 66. He is nine away from tying for third and eleven away from tying for second. It would not be unreasonable to expect that he exceeds both with the remaining number of games (16).

Next Match:

The Wanderers will next play against Valour at the Wanderers Grounds on July 18. During that 12-day break, Tavio Ciccarelli should receive his transfer certificate, and there could be other moves by the club, as it was recently announced that Julian Dunn would miss the remainder of the season due to an injury. The Wanderers could look quite different.

Header Image Photo Credit: Denys Rudenko

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