In a match between two clubs searching to climb out of the basement of the league table, it was Easton Ongaro who ensured his side would take all three points as FC Edmonton topped HFX Wanderers 1-0 on Wednesday evening at IG Field.
Mesut Mert and Halifax swapped out two players from the starting XI that fell 2-1 to Cavalry on Saturday with Samuel Salter earning a start with his first professional goal against the Cavs as he came into the lineup for Pierre Lamothe, while Joao Morelli was preferred over Akeem Garcia in the Wanderers attack to start. Edmonton made just one change to the team that drew 1-1 with Ottawa on Sunday as Paris Gee drew in for Jeannot Esua.
It was the Eddies that got off on the front foot as they opened the first 15 minutes of the contest with plenty of energy and forced the Wanderers into several sloppy turnovers in the earlygoings. Halifax seemed to adjust to Edmonton’s pressing efforts as they pushed their fullbacks higher up the flanks to give their centre backs more breathing room to build —a tweak which saw the momentum of the match shift their way.
Despite HFX looking the stronger of the two teams at the break, it was Ongaro who would get the best look at goal in the opening 45′ but the Eddies talisman would volley wide on his weaker right foot following a great cross from Shamit Shome in the 29th minute.
Stefan Karajovanovic would find himself in a dangerous position to open the Wanderers scoring account in the 53rd minute with a volleyed effort at the backpost — once which Connor James ultimately caught comfortably.
After failing to register a shot on target in the first half, Edmonton’s hopes of finding the back of net worsened when Tobias Warschewski was forced off through injury just ten minutes after halftime.
With little prospects of offense at either ends of the pitch, Alan Koch turned to his bench and got a spark from Fraser Aird, who’d scored twice already for Edmonton this season. After smashing a freekick past Christian Oxner only to be denied by the crossbar with roughly 15 minutes remaining, Aird would take full advantage of some careless Halifax defending before squaring it to Ongaro for a tap in and the game’s opening goal in the 81st minute.
Mert would turn to Akeem Garcia off the bench hoping last year’s leading scorer could be an impact sub for Halifax but ultimately the Eddies stood firm at the back to secure an all-important victory.
81′ — Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)
31′ — Yellow: Ramón Soria (FC Edmonton)
33′ — Yellow: Mélé Temguia (FC Edmonton)
38′ — Yellow: Scott Firth (HFX Wanderers)
75′ — Yellow: Christian Oxner (HFX Wanderers)