Like any good Thanksgiving get-together, HFX Wanderers FC were entertaining hosts but ultimately kept all the spoils they took down league leaders Pacific FC at a jam-packed Wanderers Grounds in Halifax on Thanksgiving Monday.
An inauspicious own goal was all that settled the two teams – though the Wanderers were good value for the Coastal Clash win as they grabbed a massive three points in their pursuit of a CPL Playoff spot.
Halifax started the match strong by pressing the Tridents and creating several chances with direct play. Peter Schaale created Halifax’s best chance in that opening spell when, stepping into midfield for a lunging tackle, surged forward and played a smart ball to second striker Sam Salter, who was saved by Callum Irving’s swinging right boot.
The swashbuckling style shown by the Wanderers waned through the first half – though the Tridents failed to record a shot on target in the match. Their greatest chance in the first frame came from a Josh Heard cross that trickled across the six-yard box with no intended target – showing just how well Halifax’s defence held firm in the middle of the park.
Play began to open up in the second frame. Several chances came sailing around both club’s goal but nothing that could be determined as clear-cut. Irving was called for several crucial claims, eventually gaining the ire of Wanderers faithful.
That crowd propelled Halifax to a late rally in the final 15 minutes. Several crucial giveaways put Pacific on the back foot. One of which led to a Morey Doner run to the line and the resulting corner was taken by Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé. The in-swinger fell below Trident centrebacks Abou Samake and Lukas MacNaughton and into the net for the first and only goal of the match.
Pacific’s late surge was for not as they dropped their second loss in a row for the first time in this season
With the result, the Wanderers leapfrog York United for the fourth and final playoff spot taking a one-point advantage while York remains with a game at hand.
83′ — Abou Samake (Pacific FC)
2′ — Yellow: Cory Bent (HFX Wanderers FC)
7′ — Yellow: Pierre Lamothe (HFX Wanderers FC)
43′ — Yellow: Jordan Haynes (Pacific FC)