‘Confidence is high’: Novak, Forge sweep Valour as Fall lead grows

Last time out at IG Field, Forge FC’s Anthony Novak credited his breakfast for a two-goal performance, as heard on OneSoccer.

A similar satiated feeling came Thursday as the 25-year-old continued his goalscoring run against Valour FC in a 3-1 win that sent Forge top of the CPL’s Fall standings.

“It’s just a matter of scoring what’s put in front of you,” Novak told of his 15th-minute goal, his fourth against Valour this season, in his side’s ninth-straight match without a loss.

“Confidence is high. Everybody is contributing, we’re getting goals from everywhere, everybody is putting in good performances.

“We’re just excited to keep pushing on.”

Thursday’s result means Forge has gone a perfect 5-0-0 against their Winnipeg foes in 2019, the first such “sweep” of a CanPL team on the season. Chris Nanco and Tristan Borges also scored Thursday, with the latter now just one goal behind Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell in the CPL golden boot race.

Forge was up 2-0 when Valour defender Adam Mitter stopped the ball on the goal line with his hand, putting his side down a man and handing Borges a penalty opportunity.

Forge FC's Dominic Samuel and Valour FC's Marco Bustos. (Valour FC/CPL).
Forge FC’s Dominic Samuel and Valour FC’s Marco Bustos. (Valour FC/CPL).

Just like that, the visitors were leading 3-0, up a man, against a team that, just 10 days before, saw Cavalry put eight past them in the largest margin of victory in CanPL history.

“You can see in the first half we (executed our gameplan) really well, but we have no excuse for that second half,” Borges admitted on OneSoccer. “Overall, it wasn’t our best game.”

Borges and co. held off a resurgent Valour, who hadn’t played since that aforementioned 8-0 drubbing, in that second frame. Forge, on the other hand, were playing their seventh match in a 27-day span

“As a coach, you know you’re going into halftime 3-0 up, up a man, and your team can take it easy,” Forge FC head coach Bobby Smryniotis said on OneSoccer after the match. “Not to say, they are tired but these are players that are on a string of games that we’ve been playing and travelling.

“It was just trying to get through that 45 minutes and get on to the next one.”

Forge now sit top of the CPL’s Fall standings with a 7-1-2 record – one point ahead of Cavalry with a match at hand. With third-placed FC Edmonton slipping against Cavalry on Wednesday, the Hammers sit nine points clear of their nearest challenger for a spot in the CPL Championship.

“The schedule doesn’t get easier,” Smyrniotis said, referencing their match Sunday against HFX Wanderers at Tim Hortons Field (1:00 p.m. ET/OneSoccer).

“But we’re in first place for a reason, because the guys are doing an excellent job.”

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