Antigonish, NS - On a sunny Sunday afternoon at Oland Stadium, the U SPORTS No. 7 ranked StFX X-Men defeated the Memorial Sea-Hawks 1-0 in a spirited affair.
After a goalless first game between the women's teams, the fans might have thought that the two highest scoring men's teams would make up for the first game's lack of goals and light up the scoreboard. This would not be the case, with the game's only goal scored in the 58th minute by StFX's Alex Taylor (Fall River, NS).
The X-Men enjoyed the vast majority of possession throughout the game, but the Memorial defence did superbly in absorbing all the pressure that X could assert. The battle lines were drawn early in the match with X-Men dynamo, Natneal Tecle (Calgary, AB), displaying wonderful dribbling skills and ball control and was deservedly awarded the Subway Player of the Game honors.
It was second year defender Sean Henderson (St. John's, NL) who was faced defending the darting runs of Tecle and the fact he could not find the back of the net was a true indication of Henderson's ability as a defender.
On the other side of the ball, Tyler Forsey (St. Philips, NL), the Sea-Hawk's striker, was a dominant force when on the pitch. When he had the ball at the feet in the 18-yard box it looked like a matter of when, and not if, he would score a goal. StFX's Josh Read (Bath, UK) did a professional job in keeping an eye on Forsey. In addition, Read made a number of strong passes along the turf to quickly send his midfielders into attack.
The first half ended scoreless, despite a number of chances for both teams. It was just before the hour mark that the Memorial defence was breached. StFX's Cole Suart (Calgary, AB) picked up the ball near midfield and found rookie wing-back Blake Fenton (Halifax, NS) who fired a brilliant cross into the six-yard box. The cross found the head of striker Ben Herringer (Calgary, AB) whose header to the far side of the net found the foot of Alex Taylor, who calmly tapped in for the game's only goal.
The Sea-Hawks went in search of an equalizer and both Forsay and Mitchell Barry (Goose Bay, NL) looked threatening at times. StFX, knowing that the tying goal could just be a moment away, went in pursuit of another goal and were close on several occasions. In the dying minutes Dan Hayfield (Exeter, UK) put in a precise cross to Herringer, whose header sailed just wide of the net. Hayfield then put a screamer of a shot into the side netting moments later.
Memorial's central defender, Michael O'Brien (Mount Pearl, NL) was excellent all afternoon in containing X's frequent offensive attacks and was the Sea-Hawks player of the game.
With the win the X-Men improve to 5-0-1 on the season and gained sole possession of first place in the AUS standings. Memorial, tied for fifth place, drops to 3-3-0.
StFX will next face Cape Breton on Friday, September 29th at 7:15 p.m. in Antigonish to kick-off StFX Homecoming weekend. Memorial will host UNB next Saturday, September 30th in St. John's.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Athletics communications