Antigonish, NS - The X-Men capped off a perfect opening weekend for StFX soccer program., defeating the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies 4-0 in a confident display at Oland Stadium on a cool Sunday afternoon.
The game began with numerous long balls and often aimless headers, but it was StFX that settled into the game first and opened the scoring after 15 minutes of play. Second year central defender Josh Read (Bath, England) launched a precise long ball from the X half straight to fellow Englishman Dan Hayfield who calmly brought the ball down and deposited it into the top far corner.
The second goal of the match was scored less than ten minutes later when Czech rookie Karel Mancal who took a pass from fellow freshman Blake Fenton (Halifax, NS) off his chest and strode confidently into the box and fired a strike into the back of the net.
Darien Rolle (Halifax, NS) and Sumit Malik (Dartmouth, NS) did well to stem the momentum of the StFX attack when possible and were always looking to be positive when they received the ball.
In the second half, veteran fifth year forward Dylan Lawrence (Ottawa, ON) was introduced at 54:47 to replace X-Men captain, the always assured Liam Elbourne (Halifax, NS). The timing was perfect as X were awarded a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Lawrence stepped up and with his first kick of the game curled the ball brilliantly into the far corner giving Huskies keeper, Christian Oxner (Halifax, NS), no chance for a save.
The introduction of numerous substitutes on both sides made the game lose its shape, but provided chances for both teams. StFX looked the more dangerous side. Malik was impressive for the visiting side and always looked to create offence when he had the ball.
The arrival of second year player William Warren (Windsor, NS) and first year Nick Aquino (Dartmouth, NS) and their interplay with Natneal Tecle (Calgary, AB) caused numerous problems for the Huskies but their defence held firm until they were breached in the 90th minute as Quincy Meh (Nepean, ON) got on the end of a nice ball into the box by Lawrence, scoring StFX's fourth and final goal of the match.
The Huskies were outshot 16-2 by the home squad as veteran fifth year keeper Matt Lannan (Port Williams, NS) earned the shutout victory in nets for the X-Men. Oxner was impressive in the losing effort for the visitors, making a number of key saves.
Josh Read received Subway Player of the Game honors with a powerful performance in the centre of defence for the X-Men.
Next up on the AUS schedule sees the Huskies facing the Tigers on Thursday at Huskies Stadium, while the X-Men will travel to Moncton on Saturday to face the Aigles-Bleus.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Athletics Communications