HIGHLIGHTS: HFX Wanderers vs Valour FC (September 10, 2022)
The Halifax Wanderers got back to winning ways on Saturday, picking up a crucial 1-0 victory over a red-hot Valour FC at Wanderers Ground, allowing them to stay alive in the CPL playoff race for another matchday.
Despite facing off against a Valour side that had won three games in a row, the Wanderers, who had won just two of their last 11 matches, found a way to take care of business in ruthless manner in this game, giving them their second 1-0 home victory over Valour in the last month.
To begin, however, the momentum would be on Valour’s side from kick-off, as they looked to continue their hot streak. Because of that, Matteo de Brienne had the first good look of the game, as the Valour attacker pounced on a turnover from the Wanderers in midfield, but his powerful shot would be sent straight at Kieran Baskett, who’d easily catch the attempt.
A few minutes later, Valour’s Moses Dyer managed to breach the Wanderers’ defensive line, where he’d send a dangerous cross towards the back post, but his seemingly goalbound attempt would be just cleared out by Zachary Fernandez at the last second.
Then, in the 22nd minute, Valour would once again come agonizingly close, continuing their strong start, as Rocco Romeo did well to get up for a corner, sending a header towards goal, only finding himself denied by a last-ditch clearance from the Wanderers Lifumpa Mwandwe.
Having played defensive hero, Mwandwe then nearly played offensive hero for the Wanderers at the other end, as a ball fell to him at the top of the box, where he unleashed a rocket, one that would be just saved by Valour’s Jonathan Sirois.
Through that, the momentum they gained from that chance would pay off for the Wanderers, as Sam Salter managed to win a penalty kick, one that he’d step up to take, slotting home calmly into the bottom corner to give his team a 1-0 lead.
From there, that’d be the score as halftime came around, leaving the Wanderers with 45 minutes to try and hold onto their lead, and for Valour to attempt to turn things around, as all was still there to play for in the second half.
Knowing that, the Wanderers came out strongly in the second half, as they looked for another goal, one they’d nearly get in the 52nd minute, when Marcello Polisi would try an audacious long shot, one that he tried to chip over Sirois, who was alert to the attempt. Then, a minute later, the ball fell to Polisi again, this time outside of the box, and he’d try a powerful left-footed strike, one that he’d slice just wide of the goal.
Continuing their bright spell, the Wanderers continued to apply pressure on Valour. As a result, Mwandwe came close in the 59th minute, as he slid into a great position in the box, where he unleashed a powerful strike, one that forced a strong stop out of Siris to keep his team in the game.
Then, the Wanderers’ Gabriel Escobar nearly got in on the action, as Fernandez went wing back to wing back with a cross to Escobar, but his volley would be just blocked by Andrew Jean-Baptiste, as Valour continued to narrowly hang on.
Finally mounting up some pressure of their own, Valour would nearly open up the game in the 79th minute, as Moses Dyer did well to play in Walter Ponce on a breakaway, but the second half sub couldn’t quite wrap his boot around the shot, sending it well wide of the near post.
That pressure wouldn’t last long, however, as the Wanderers then went the other way through Ludwig Kodjo Amla, as the second half sub did well to sneak behind the Valour backline, but his shot would be just narrowly deflected over the goal by a Valour defender, much to the relief of Sirois.
Continuing a back-and-forth spell, Valour then had another good look in the 85th minute, as the ball fell to Diego Gutiérrez at the edge of the box, and he made good contact with his effort, but lacked the accuracy necessary to hit the target.
At the other end, Halifax then nearly made it two in the 86th minute, as a great ball found Ryan Robinson at the back post, and the Wanderers sub went for the audacious attempt, but his acrobatic volley would sail just wide of the far post.
From there, however, other than a few harmless half-chances from both sides, that’d be all that this match had to offer, leaving the Wanderers to celebrate this big result in front of their home fans.
33′ — PK: Samuel Salter (HFX Wanderers)
65′ — Yellow: Zachary Fernandez (HFX Wanderers)
66′ — Yellow: Marcello Polisi (HFX Wanderers)
80′ — Yellow: Kieran Baskett (HFX Wanderers)