HIGHLIGHTS: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Pacific FC (Sept. 27, 2022)
Pacific FC ended a five-match winless streak with a 2-0 victory over HFX Wanderers at Wanderers Grounds. With the loss, Halifax, as well as York United, are now eliminated from playoff contention.
The match, originally scheduled to be played this past Saturday, was twice delayed due to the weather effects of Hurricane Fiona. Djenairo Daniels and Josh Heard provided the goals for the visitors, giving them a crucial three points in the CPL playoff race.
With the win, Pacific FC jumps over Valour into fourth place in the league table, three points ahead of the Winnipeg side with a game in hand. Valour (+5), however, does have a better goal difference than Pacific (+2).
Neither side was really able to find much rhythm in the early part of the match. Pacific had more of the ball in the first part of the first half but was unable to really use that to create any dangerous moments as the ball seemed to get caught up slightly at times on a rain-soaked Halifax pitch.
The hosts had the first real chance of the half, as a clever cross from Obeng Tabi deflected into the path of Fumpa Mwandwe. The Halifax attacker, however, dragged his shot wide of the target.
Moments later, however, Halifax was dealt a significant blow as captain Andre Rampersad went down with injury and instantly signalled to the bench that he needed to be taken out of the match. He was replaced by defender Eriks Santos in the 27th minute. It was Rampersad’s 98th appearance for the club, and the hope had been he would make his 100th appearance on the final day of the season.
The hosts had another good chance when a poor giveaway from Pacific led to Mwandwe breaking the other way. He was brought down just outside the penalty area by Amer Didic, who was shown a yellow card. Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé’s free-kick attempt, however, was overhit and went behind for a goal kick.
Just before the half, on their first shot or shot attempt of the match, Pacific FC scored the opener. Gianni Dos Santos sent a searching cross into Halifax’s box, while bounced into the path of Daniels, whose shot across goal deflected off the post and into the net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. It was the attacker’s third goal of the season.
In first-half added time, Halifax nearly replied. A corner kick from Gagnon-Laparé was headed goalwards by Mo Omar. Pacific’s Callum Irving ultimately got a hand to the ball, making a brilliant save to keep his side in front at the half.
Knowing that a loss would end their season, the Wanderers pressed forward early in the second half. A searching cross from Zachary Fernandez in the 53rd minute somehow found its way untouched through the Pacific box despite several Wanderers’ players in the vicinity.
Pacific was finally able to relieve the pressure a little bit in the 55th minute when Dos Santos found his way forward and forced a foul outside the Halifax box. Didic, who has shown an incredible ability to strike a dead ball in recent weeks, ultimately sent his low-driven strike into the wall.
It was déja vu in the 62nd minute as Dos Santos was again brought down for another well-placed free-kick opportunity. He took the set piece himself this time, but his curling effort was well over the net.
Pacific added a second in the 69th minute. This time Dos Santos found an overlapping Manny Aparicio, who sent a brilliant ball across goal to find Heard at the back post. Heard’s smashed an emphatic strike past Baskett to give the visitors a big 2-0 lead.
The win was Pacific’s first, and also their first clean sheet, since August 13. It also ended a run of three matches without a loss, or a goal conceded, for Halifax.
45′ — Djenairo Daniels (Pacific FC)
69′ — Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
19’— Yellow: Zachary Fernandez (HFX Wanderers)
32′ — Yellow: Gianni Dos Santos (Pacific FC)
37′ — Yellow: Amer Didic (Pacific FC)
90′ + 3 — Yellow: Nathan Mavila (Pacific FC)