A pair of goals in quick succession from York United’s Lowell Wright won the match for his Nine Stripes Sunday as they overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Valour FC 2-1 at York Lions Stadium.
The start of the match was relatively uneventful, with the first attempt on target coming in the 18th minute. Brett Levis forced a save out of Nathan Ingham while, at the other end of the pitch, Matt Silva did well to deny Alvaro Rivero six minutes later, diving to his right to deny the Spanish attacker. Max Ferrari fired a follow-up effort high and wide, visibly disappointed with his failure to at least get the ball on target from close range.
Valour broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, off the foot of Levis. The Valour attacker played a pass to William Akio, following his pass into the box and picking up the ball again after it ricocheted off the young striker. Levis took a touch to open up some space before firing a low shot through the legs of Dominick Zator and into the bottom left corner.
Diyaeddine Abzi came close to equalizing late in the half, curling a free kick toward the goal. It glanced off the top of the crossbar, missing the top corner by the smallest of margins.
The Nine Stripes left back nearly scored again moments later — dancing around Federico Peña before firing a rocket of a shot to the far post. His effort missed the target, however, and Valour’s lead stayed intact. Abzi was York’s most lively player in the opening 45 minutes, linking up well with Alvaro Rivero to wreak havoc on the left side.
York led the shot count 14-6 at halftime, but Valour led in the stat that counts — taking a 1-0 advantage into the break.
The Nine Stripes came out strong after the interval, scoring twice in quick succession to turn the game around. After running onto a pass, Abzi fired a low cross through the box, which met Lowell Wright in the six-yard box. The 18-year-old striker thumped the ball past Matt Silva from close range, equalizing and shifting the momentum in York’s favour. Wright would double his tally six minutes later, giving his team the lead.
After receiving the ball from his goalkeeper, Stefan Cebara got caught by a pair of York players in the penalty box, allowing Michael Petrasso to poke the ball away to Wright. The youngster scored his second of the match with another calm finish, passing it into the net past a defending Rodrigo Reyes.
Both sides pushed in the remaining half an hour — York to extend their lead and Valour to try and steal a point, but an elusive goal would never come for either side.
Nathan Ingham made an impressive stop in the 94th minute, diving to his left and fully stretching to deny Moses Dyer’s low shot. That was as close as Valour came in the second half, and York’s unbeaten run in league action was extended to six games.
With the win, York extend their lead over Valour and HFX in fourth place. They now move six points clear of Valour — and four ahead of the Wanderers — in the final playoff spot, although the two sides below them have a game in hand.
27′ — Brett Levis (Valour FC)
55′ — Lowell Wright (York United)
61′ — Lowell Wright (York United)
10′ — Yellow: Daryl Fordyce (Valour FC)
35′ — Yellow: Jordan Wilson (York United)
37′ — Yellow: Brett Levis (Valour FC)
50′ — Yellow: Noah Verhoeven (York United)