Forge FC scored late to rescue a point in front of their home fans at Tim Hortons Field on Saturday afternoon, as an 89th-minute equalizer from Woobens Pacius earned a 1-1 draw against the visiting Halifax Wanderers.
Noah Jensen, who has been red-hot to start the 2023 season with three goals in Forge’s opening two matches, nearly opened the scoring early for the Hammers in the third minute — striking the woodwork with a shot that had beat Wanderers goalkeeper Yann Fillion. The first scoring opportunity for the visitors came about ten minutes later, as the Wanderers counter-attacked quickly, and Callum Watson forced a save out of Triston Henry with a low shot in the box.
Jensen hit the target from outside the box in the 29th minute, but this time Fillion was able to dive to his left and make the save. Kwasi Poku also took a shot from distance, but sent it way over the bar. Continuing their extended pressure as they played on the front foot, Forge knocked on the door again in the 33rd minute. Garven Metusala shot the ball from distance and Fillion gave up a big rebound, but the Wanderers netminder was able to stretch and deny Jordan Hamilton’s point blank follow up effort.
After being mostly pinned in their own half for about ten minutes, Halifax finally countered again in the 39th minute, getting three shots away in quick succession, but failing score with any of them. Making his way toward the Forge net, Massimo Ferrin tried to shoot the ball under the rushing Henry, but the Hammers goalkeeper was able to get his body on it. The ball popped up again, but Ferrin’s follow up effort was blocked by Rezart Rama, before Wesley Timóteo failed to hit the target with a slightly rushed shot of his own.
Ferrin redeemed himself a few minutes later, picking out the bottom-right corner with a curled shot from the edge of the penalty area — the only goal of the opening 45 minutes. Ferrin, running laterally along the edge of the penalty area, played the ball quickly to Andre Rampersad before getting it back, before calmly slotting it into the bottom right corner. He also scored Halifax’s lone goal in their midweek Canadian Championship defeat to Atlético Ottawa.
For the opening stages of the second half, neither side was able to really dominate the way Forge did in the first 45 before Ferrin’s goal. Jordan Hamilton, David Choinière and Kwasi Poku came off around the hour mark, replaced by Tristan Borges, Terran Campbell, and Woobens Pacius, respectively, and Forge started to play on the front foot again, which sparked some life into their attack, but the resilient Wanderers defence stood strong.
Ferrin, Kosi Nwafornso and Lorenzo Callegari all failed to hit the target with shots early in the second half, but for the most part it seemed like the visitors were fine with sitting back and doing everything they could to stop the Hammers as they pushed to find an equalizer.
In the 82nd minute, Metusala got his head on a corner from Borges, redirecting on target, but Fillion was again able to make a big stop to keep his clean sheet intact.
Forge finally found a breakthrough in the 89th minute, after a shot took a deflection off of Woobens Pacius. The Forge striker was in the right place at the right time, as Fillion made a save before the ball ricocheted off Pacius and bounced into the back of the net.
They left it late to find their goal, but Forge picked up a well-deserved point in front of their noisy home supporters, before they hit the road for an away match at Starlight Stadium next weekend. The Wanderers will head home for the first time this season, to host CPL newcomers Vancouver FC.
42′ — Massimo Ferrin (Halifax Wanderers)
89′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
49′ — Yellow: Lorenzo Callegari (Halifax Wanderers)
75′ — Yellow: Daniel Nimick (Halifax Wanderers)
77′ — Yellow: Manjrekar James (Forge FC)
88′ — Yellow: Riley Ferrazzo (Halifax Wanderers)