Forge FC claimed their second win of the 2022 season in emphatic fashion on Friday night, as they topped HFX Wanderers FC by a 4-0 scoreline at Wanderers Grounds to move into a six-way tie in the CPL table for second place.
As Forge continue to deal with injuries at the back, coach Bobby Smyrniotis shook up his lineup yet again for this one, handing first starts to both Rezart Rama and Malik Owolabi-Belewu in a 3-4-3 formation as Emery Welshman returned up front and captain Kyle Bekker — recovered from last week’s illness — started in the middle. The Wanderers, meanwhile, also made a handful of changes to the squad, with Obeng Tabi and Mateo Restrepo slotting in as fullbacks and Aidan Daniels moving up to the wing from midfield in place of the injured Cory Bent.
The home side pressed well in the opening few minutes of the game, but after surviving a couple of early chances it was Forge who took control of proceedings. They pressed forward relentlessly with their possession-based, quick-passing style, and mustered a handful of excellent opportunities to keep HFX goalkeeper Kieran Baskett busy.
Before long, though, Forge found their breakthrough. Rama fed Alessandro Hojabrpour a ball into the box, and the young midfielder sent a well-weighted pass across to David Choinière at the back post for a good finish between Baskett’s legs to make it 1-0.
At halftime, HFX boss Stephen Hart sought to change things up with his side and made two substitutions, introducing Marcello Polisi and Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé to the midfield in place of Pierre Lamothe and Mo Omar.
The swaps didn’t necessarily have the immediate effect Halifax might have hoped for, though. Indeed, it was Forge who struck again next, just seven minutes into the second half, as Choinière chipped a ball over the top toward Terran Campbell, and it fell into the path of Welshman who struck it well off Baskett’s hands and into the net.
Less than ten minutes later, Forge found the scoresheet yet again; this time, it was Owolabi-Belewu who put a cross into the box and after Baskett collided with a Forge attacker going for the ball, Choinière was left all alone in front to head it down and into the net to make it 3-0.
Things got even worse for the Wanderers about 20 minutes after that, as Forge substitute Woobens Pacius got on the end of a quick piece of build-up play and tapped in the fourth goal, capping off an excellent evening on the east coast for the Hamilton club.
So, Forge will hope to keep momentum from this match — and the Wanderers will hope to shake it off — as both sides look onward to this week’s Canadian Championship quarterfinals against MLS sides, when Forge take on CF Montréal and HFX face Toronto FC.
22′ — David Choinière (Forge FC)
52′ — Emery Welshman (Forge FC)
60′ — David Choinière (Forge FC)
79′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
42′ — Yellow: Kyle Bekker (Forge FC)
55′ — Yellow: Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
58′ — Yellow: Alessandro Hojabrpour (Forge FC)
77′ — Yellow: Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers FC)
83′ — Yellow: Mour Samb (HFX Wanderers FC)