The Wanderers Recap: They Almost Had It
Historically, the Wanderers have now played Forge FC twenty times. In those twenty games (including this match), the Wanderers have won three times, drawn nine, and lost nine. Of those three wins, none of them have come at the Donut Box (Tim Horton’s Field). With that being said, very few people expected the Wanderers to win tonight, but many agreed that this would be the best opportunity in club history to get a win in Hamilton.
For the Wanderers, they were basically perfect and were drawn due to an exceptional piece of skill. You cannot blame them for not getting all three points, but you also shouldn’t be overly pleased with a single point.
Once again, the Wanderers were just moments away from three points. In the first half, they were compact, efficient, and clearly playing a very specific and cagey game plan against defending champions, Forge FC. That team spirit paid off in the 28th minute when Jordan Perruzza drew a penalty after an incisive pass sent him in on goal. With Joso Morelli not with the team on this trip due to family reasons, Dan Nimick resumed his position as team penalty taker and did a great job coolly slotting it past Tristan Henry.
After the goal, Forge went into their typical shape after conceding, as they tried to claw back their opponents’ advantage. While the Wanderers have typically been fragile after scoring, they seemed calmer and absorbed the pressure effectively and got through to half-time with less stress than is normally associated with the Wanderers having a lead.
In the second half, it was much of the same story, with the Wanderers pressing efficiently while not being vulnerable in their defensive shape. As the game opened up, they counter-attacked but worked diligently to snuff out opportunities for Forge. And for 79 minutes, they did this, up until an innocuous-looking foul gave Beni Badibanga an opportunity to hit a dead ball from about 28 yards out. To his credit, he hit it perfectly, and Yann Fillion had no chance of saving it.
The Wanderers will eventually win at the Donut Box, but this was not their match. If they continue to build on performances like this, the Wanderers are a club that will be dangerous in the seasons to come because their style is stifling for opposing teams. Patrice Gheisar is proving why he was so well-regarded in the Ontario and Canada football landscape, and I doubt that we have seen the pinnacle of the Wanderers under Gheisar.
While this draw doesn’t move the Wanderers up or down in the table, it does put them a full three points above York, who sit in sixth place, as well as having a huge lead on them in goal-difference. The club also could surpass Forge as they are only two points back and have a game-in-hand over Bobby’s boys.
Yann Fillion is now tied with Kieran Baskett for the second-most goalkeeper appearances for the HFX Wanderers. He is still 45 games away from catching Christian Oxner for the all-time lead, so don’t expect much shuffling in the leaderboard for at least another full season.
Zachary Fernandez is now tied for tenth on the Wanderers’ all-time appearance list with 45, and sixth place in total minutes played for the club (Only Andre Rampersad, Peter Schaale, Christian Oxner, Akeem Garcia, and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare have more). He will move into fifth place with another 86 minutes of action.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League