HIGHLIGHTS: HFX defeats Forge in raucous Wanderers Grounds opener

The Kitchen was rocking at Wanderers Grounds as HFX Wanderers FC made its home debut against Forge FC on Saturday, with the home outfit securing their first three points courtesy of an 82nd-minute goal by Luis Alberto Perea, giving Stephen Hart’s side a 2-1 victory in front of 6,000-odd supporters.

A first-half goal by Akeem Garcia in the 30th minute opened the festivities in Halifax, with Forge captain Kyle Bekker nearly levelling the score with a free kick that struck the crossbar.

Now familiar with second-half heroics, Forge’s Kadell Thomas scored an equalizer at the 57-minute mark, getting on the end of a Kwame Awuah cross to bring his team back to 1-1. But, Perea’s late effort – a well-struck drive on the end of a long cross from the left – brought the raucous home crowd to their feet in united Haligonian cheer.

HFX goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was forced into a big save on a Tristan Borges shot in the 87th minute, preserving his team’s precious lead. Three minutes of added time gave Forge a glimmer of hope, but the party was destined for Halifax, with the Wanderers holding on for a 2-1 victory.

The Wanderers now switch focus to Investors Group Field for a visit to take on Valour FC on May 11 (3:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. AT, OneSoccer), while Forge FC return home to host Pacific FC at Tim Hortons Field on May 8 (7:00 p.m. ET, OneSoccer).

Three key performers

Luis Alberto Perea – HFX Wanderers FC

A complete night-and-day approach to the centre-forward position compared with Tomasz Skublak last week, the 32-year-old Colombian was everywhere he needed to be in support, was wiley on the run, and scored the crucial game-winning goal for HFX.

Zela Langwa – HFX Wanderers FC

Lively throughout the match, Langwa’s defensive instincts saved his side from dangerous situations on more than one occasion, combining speed and persistence out wide to limit opportunities created from his opposites on Forge. 

Kwame Awuah – Forge FC

Recorded the most touches for the visiting team, bombarded up the left flank throughout the match, and recorded an assist on Thomas’ equalizing goal – it was a good day out for Kwame Awuah, despite his team’s late loss.