Forge FC avoided an upset against HFX Wanderers FC on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field, grabbing two comeback goals en route to an eventual 2-2 draw.
The result, which was played out between the CPL’s top and bottom teams in the Fall standings, extends Forge’s unbeaten run in the Fall season to 10 matches.
The Wanderers started off strong in just their second game since Aug. 10, keeping Forge from recording a shot on target in the first half. HFX would find the net soon after halftime via Akeem Garcia. Mohamed Kourouma’s well-weighted pass found Garcia, who slashed home his fifth goal of the season to the far side of Forge ‘keeper Triston Henry.
Play opened up after the goal, just as the skies did at Tim Hortons Field. Nine minutes later, operating in new-found space, Juan Diego Gutierrez grabbed a second for the Wanderers, when he smashed a curling-yet-powerful attempt from the corner of the box into the top corner.
League-leading Forge stormed back in the last 30 minutes, starting with their first shot on target, in the 68th minute, when Chris Nanco flicked the ball past ‘keeper Christian Oxner off an in-swinging cross. Tristan Borges found an equalizer in the 81st minute, with a one-hit smash from a smart Anthony Novak layoff.
Late chances, and a few penalty shouts, at either end were not to be, ending an exciting first half and a preview for Wednesday when these two teams meet again in Halifax (5:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. AT, on OneSoccer).
48′ – Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers)
58′ – Juan Diego Gutierrez (HFX Wanderers)
69′ – Chris Nanco (Forge FC)
81′ – Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
HFX’s left winger carved a lane down his flank all match, whipping in tricky crosses and slicing through balls, with his assist to Garcia the pick of the bunch.
Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers)
Garcia smelled blood from the first minute, using pace for space against a leggy Forge backline. Testing Henry three times, Garcia eventually converted with a smart finish – one of a match-leading five shots.
Triston Henry (Forge FC)
Henry’s five saves kept Forge in the match, especially considering the early flurry of activity he saw in the first half. A stop on Garcia in the 14th minute was a particular highlight.