Forge’s Smyrniotis laments first-half performance in 905 Derby loss to Y9

In terms of open play, Forge FC trumps all Canadian Premier League clubs at the Island Games. But if you add set-pieces into the mix, the picture isn’t so rosy.

The CPL champs suffered a 3-2 loss in the latest 905 Derby on Wednesday, succumbing to three set-piece goals from York9 FC in the process.

First-half set-piece goals from Kyle Porter and Joseph Di Chiara – from a free kick and corner kick, respectively – put Forge in a two-goal deficit, one that they dug out of early in the second half before a penalty decision ended up handing the Nine Stripes their second-ever 905 Derby win.

Six of the seven goals Forge has conceded at The Island Games have come from set-pieces (two from penalties). Is this Forge’s kryptonite? Coach Bobby Smyrniotis doesn’t think so, especially regarding Y9’s second goal of the game.

“On the second goal (Forge’s) Dom Samuel was down with an injury, there was a stoppage of play, he should have been allowed back on the pitch,” Smyrniotis told reporters after the game.

“Samuel was the goalscorer’s marker. If that was done properly, maybe Samuel marks Di Chiara and it’s a different story.”

Smyrniotis added: “We could have done a better job on the first one, yeah. But we simply weren’t to our standard in our first half.”

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Smyrnitois gave his side a dramatic makeover at halftime, making three changes – including Kyle Bekker’s rare early exit. Substitutes Chirs Nanco and Anthony Novak made an impact right away, as the former scored after making a wonderful run just four minutes after entering the game. A rebound equalizer from Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson just three minutes later brought Forge level.

Forge failed to record a shot on target after the Jonsson goal, though they got close through headers from Samuel and David Edgar. A dangerous cross from Nanco proved the last great chance for Forge, who now sit on eight points from five matches.

“The discussion at half time was we needed to be more ruthless in attack,” Nanco said after the match.

“We came out a little flat in the beginning but we turned it around… We were unlucky to not get a result.”

Smyrniotis, who saw his side play a fifth match in 13 days, agreed that a slow start cost Forge points on blustery afternoon in Prince Edward Island.

“In the first half we didn’t step into the game to do the right things, though in transition we had our moments towards their goal but just wasn’t sharp enough,” Smyrniotis said. “The second half, the guys went out much more positively and that’s what we take from this game.”

Forge returns to action on Sunday when they face Atlético Ottawa (3:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. AT).

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