Antigonish, NS – A pair of UNB Reds goals scored midway through the first half were the difference in the game as the Reds defeated the StFX X-Men 4-1 Sunday afternoon at StFX Stadium.
UNB Keeper Evan Barker (Winnipeg, MB) was tested in the opening minute of play as Josh Read (Bath, UK) delivered a laser shot low which was turned aside, then Dan Hayfield (Exeter, UK) was unable to corral the rebound.
In the fifth minute the Reds capitalized on their first scoring opportunity of the game. Ben-Orel Mugisha (Ottawa, ON) brought the ball down the wing and crossed to the front of the net. After a brilliant toe save by Seamus MacDonald (Antigonish, NS), the ball ping-ponged around and Maximus Coore-Manhu (Markham, ON) was able to control it and bang the rebound in, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
William Warren (Windsor Junction, NS) had a pair of shots early on for the X-Men - one that translated into a hand ball inside the 18 yard box. Veteran striker Hayfield made no mistake on the low shot on the ensuing penalty kick to tie up the game in the 11th minute of play.
The Reds then scored a pair of goals within two minutes to take a 3-1 advantage.
After a couple defensive miscues in the StFX end, Lewis Dye was awarded a yellow card for a tackle inside the box. Tristan Nkoghe (Sherbrooke, QC) blasted the penalty shot high past MacDonald.
Nkoghe then set up Mathew Quigley (Chester Basin, NS) in tight in front of the net as he redirected the ball past the outstretched MacDonald.
Warren continued his strong play for the X-Men and his nice cross to Quincy Meh (Ottawa, ON) in the 34th minute had Barker beat but went just wide of the mesh. He almost connected again with Ben Herringer (Calgary, AB) late in the half but to no avail.
The Reds held off the StFX attack to take the 3-1 lead into halftime.
Both teams came out hard in the second half in a physical match. Hayfield missed on a scoring chance early on then the Reds had consecutive chances but were denied – Nkoghe by the post and Ben Gorringe (Mount Uniacke, NS) on a blocked shot.
StFX thought they closed the gap in the 57th minute when Warren fed a ball in tight to Mey who deposited into the Reds net but it was called back due to an offside play.
In another close play four minutes later, X-Men defender Jack Kennedy (Antigonish, NS) streaked down the flank and crossed a nice ball in front that Hayfield deflected but it hit the cross bar and stayed out.
As the teams continued their physical play, the Reds thought they scored in the 75th minute off a header after the ball bounced around the X crease but was called off for a foul on the keeper.
Nkoghe had a dangerous ball five minutes later that deflected off the top of the StFX cross bar as the Reds searched for an insurance marker.
In one of StFX's best chances of the half in the 81st minute, Warren crossed another nice ball to Logan Harrington (Halifax, NS) but he was unable to convert the pass into the open Reds net.
The Reds then took the winds out of the X sails on a final goal scored in the 83rd minute. After bringing the ball down field, Tom Pheulpin (Fredericton, NB) took a pass then crossed the ball towards the X-Men net and Gorringe scored on a nice header.
For his strong play in the game the veteran fifth year midfielder Gorringe received Subway player of the game honours for the Reds.
X-Men forward Tane Caubo (London, UK) was the StFX player of the game.
Both teams are back in action next weekend. The Reds will host Memorial on Saturday, September 14th, while the X-Men travel to Halifax on Sunday to take on Dalhousie.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Athletics