HFX Wanderers FC and Forge FC played out a rather tame scoreless draw at Wanderers Grounds Saturday afternoon – though the points collected in the search for playoff positioning were anything but.
With the result, Halifax moves up to two points clear for the fourth and final playoff spot and, in the process, mathematically eliminated far-flung FC Edmonton. Forge, meanwhile, remain third on 41 points.
Forge made six changes following their midweek Concacaf League tie in Costa Rica against Santos including starting ‘keeper Triston Henry making way for Baj Maan. Bobby Smyrniotis would end up making two changes by 45 minutes, though, including the departure of Johnny Grant due to injury. Halifax meanwhile, saw Jems Geffrard join the backline alongside Peter Schaale while Eriks Santos to the left – a move that provided solidity while adding an extra midfielder from their oft-seen back three system as the team eyed their first non-own goal scored in three matches.
MATCH COVERAGE: Match Analysis: HFX Wanderers 0-0 Forge || Sights & Sounds: HFX Wanderers 0-0 Forge FC
A rather lacklustre opening 45 minutes saw no shots on target but plenty of promising attacking play at a wet Wanderers Grounds – something that caused numerous slips and spills on the field of play.
It was a case of which team could find their attacking footing – and adapt to the conditions – through the opening hour or so. Kyle Bekker recorded the first shot on target after a ball over the top was tipped down and volleyed. Both teams enjoyed their best attacks in transition, though, as the ongoing rain forced teams to long-ball tactics in an effort of avoiding the sopping pitch.
Forge found some momentum after 70 minutes starting with a chest-to-backheel combo from Bekker and Alex Achinioti-Jonsson that nearly gave Emery Welshman a quality chance. More direct play, including a nice individual effort from Chris Nanco, saw the visitors start to claw forward. Mo Babouli gave the Wanderers supporters a scare soon after when a freekick grazed the outside of the post.
A similar momentum swing in Halifax’s favour soon after didn’t do much. Wanderers’ coach Stephen Hart brought on Alex Marshall in search of an attacking spark which came through a lovely line-breaking pass that gave Mamadi Camara a chance through Akeem Garcia. No goal would come, though, despite the late surge.
20′ — Yellow: Baj Maan (Forge FC)
77′ — Yellow: Dom Samuel (Forge FC)