Needing to bounce back from a big defeat at home last weekend, HFX Wanderers reacted in a big way, making the trip across the country to Starlight Stadium and leaving with a dominant 3-0 victory over Pacific FC.
Three goals is their largest margin of victory in club history, and to do it against the reigning champions no less is an important result for the club. Pacific, meanwhile, have their winless run in all competitions extended to seven matches as they struggle to recapture the form that saw them start the season nearly perfectly.
Just a minute into the match, HFX already had an opportunity to take the lead. Sam Salter was charging at Callum Irving, and when the goalkeeper came off his line, Salter tried to play a lateral pass to a teammate, which Amer Didic was able to get in front of and clear away from what would have been an easy goal.
Irving was tested again about 15 minutes later, nearly caught out of position. He was running to get back into his goal when Wanderers attacker Mour Samb decided to fire a shot from a tight angle, but a quick reaction from Irving meant that the ball was turned away for a corner kick instead.
The beginning of the match was largely controlled by the Haligonians, and after pushing and pushing for a goal, finally found one. After a cross into the box was turned away by Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, Samb took a touch to control the ball before firing a shot at Irving. The Pacific goalkeeper wasn’t able to get a very strong hand to it, and the ball slipped over the line for the opening goal.
Ten minutes later, still on the front foot, the visitors doubled the lead, as Aidan Daniels scored his first CPL goal for HFX. Taking down the ball after a pass over the top, Daniels set his feet before faking a shot with his right foot. The motion turned around Amer Didic, who slipped as Daniels turned the other way and took a shot with his left foot. The ball beat the diving Irving, and HFX took a well-deserved two-goal lead into halftime.
Pacific came close to pulling one back a few minutes after the break, after Matteo Polisi chipped the ball into the penalty area. Marco Bustos got on the end of the cross, from only a couple of yards out of the empty goal, but couldn’t keep his header down and the ball ended up going over the goal.
They kept pushing for a goal, but were mostly limited to shots from long range. Bustos in particular was trying to do everything he could to find a goal for his side, taking several of those shots himself. Alejandro Diaz and Josh Heard were both substituted out before the hour mark — a frustrating afternoon for two of Pacific’s biggest offensive threats.
Things went from bad to worse in the 71st minute for Pacific, as Sean Young — who had only come off the bench moments earlier — brought down Sam Salter in the 18-yard box and Halifax were awarded a penalty. Salter stepped up to take it himself, sending Irving the wrong way to make it 3-0.
The Tridents had a few more chances in the remaining 20 minutes or so, including a disallowed goal for Polisi, but weren’t able to break down a strong Wanderers backline. It was an impressive all-around performance for the visiting team, who leave Langford, BC with a big three points.
24′ — Mour Samb (HFX Wanderers)
36′ — Aidan Daniels (HFX Wanderers)
71′ — Sam Salter (HFX Wanderers) — penalty
57′ — Jamar Dixon (Pacific FC)
72′ — Yellow: Zachary Fernandez (HFX Wanderers)
79′ — Yellow: Peter Schaale (HFX Wanderers)
87′ — Yellow: Christian Oxner (HFX Wanderers)