Antigonish, N.S. – A late tally by Cedric N'Guessan (North Bergen, NJ), in the 89th minute, was the difference in a 1-0 victory for the Cape Breton University Capers over the StFX X-Men in exhibition soccer action Sunday afternoon on the turf at StFX Stadium.
Off a counter attack, Robson Doolan (Nottingham, UK) took the initial shot, which Matthew Lannan (Port Williams, NS) turned aside for the X-Men, before N'Guessan deposited the rebound into the open net.
In the second half, despite being down a player – as a result of a Joe Edgerton (Halifax, NS) red card late in the opening 45 minutes on a tackle – the X-Men carried the action.
In the early minutes after halftime, midfielder Marco Zanchetta (Vicenza, Italy) collected a bouncing ball in close quarters before feeding Alex Taylor (Fall River, NS), who ripped a low shot just wide beyond the outstretched right arm of Caper goalkeeper Jamie Wilson (Dunbar, Scotland).
A short time later, freshman forward Tane Caubo (London, England) launched a strike that sailed over the crossbar.
As the X-Men continued the offensive pressure, Taylor made a nifty spin move on the Caper defenders, which led to a corner kick for Zanchetta. On the boot, Peter Schaale (Bernkastel-Kues, GER) and X-Men freshman Josh Read (Bath, England) soared for the header, with the Caper defender winning the tough, high-flying battle.
On offense, Caper forward Cory Bent (Preston, UK) straddled the X-Men goal line, while beating his defender, before Dustin Benetti (Calgary, AB) made a sliding play to thwart the scoring opportunity.
Wilson kept the X-Men off the scoreboard a short time later, when he dove to steer aside a shot from James Fitzpatrick (Victoria, BC).
Read almost gave the home side the lead, when he climbed the ladder for a header, but the attempt bounced wide.
Off a Caper corner, defender Marko Djukic (Kitchener, ON) deflected a header just wide of the near post behind Lannan.
Fitzpatrick collected another golden scoring change, but Wilson made another key save with his right hand.
After N'Guessan tickled the twine, the X-Men quickly ran out of time, before they could mount any sort of comeback.
In the first half of what was a typical physical match-up between the long-time rivals, the Capers carried most of the play, with Lannan making a pair of early strong saves, including on a great challenge of a charging Bent.
Midfielder Ben Herringer (Calgary, AB) had the first quality scoring chance for the X-Men, but the Caper defenders blocked the shot attempt.
A couple minutes later, Lannan made it look easy, once again, when he turned aside Doolan, while Edgerton thwarted another chance with a stellar defensive play.
Before the break, Benetti and Edgerton made a couple more key moves to keep the Caper attack off the score sheet.
The X-Men will open the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) regular season with a home matches versus the UPEI Panthers (Saturday, Sept. 10) and UNB Varsity Reds (Sunday, Sept. 11).
Kick-off both days is set for 3:15 p.m. at StFX Stadium.