Antigonish, NS – In a battle of U SPORTS ranked teams, it was the No. 7 Cape Breton Capers who came out on top with a 3-1 victory over the No.4 StFX X-Men Friday night at Oland Stadium.
As the misty rain descended on a chilly evening in Antigonish, it no doubt made the numerous English and Scottish players on display feel right at home. The game certainly had a Premier League feel to it as both sides were full of adventure and attacking was the order of the evening.
The game began with numerous forays down the flanks with Corey Bent (Preston, ENG) for the Capers looking especially dangerous. It was the responsibility of StFX's Alex Taylor (Fall River, NS) to control and contain the Caper maestro. For his effort and skill, Taylor was awarded the StFX player of the game.
On the other side, it was William Warren (Windsor, NS) and Natneal Tecle (Calgary, AB) who had license to thrill for the X-Men. They worked well together and it was Capers defenders Lewis White (Musselburgh, SCO) and Euan Bauld (East Lothion, SCO) who had to keep the X-Men attackers under wraps.
The Capers opened the scoring first with Charlie Waters (Lancashire, ENG), impressive throughout, who found the back of the net seven minutes into the match. Caper right back Lewis White put a cross into the box, deflected by the head of Caelan Badhoo (Winnipeg, MB), which then found the boot of Waters, who calmly guided the ball into the StFX net.
In the 16th minute StFX were on the attack and a heavy challenge by Marcus Campanile (Edinburgh, SCO) resulted in a yellow card and an X free kick. Midfielder Dan Hayfield (Exeter, ENG) stepped up from just over 30 yards out, and his free kick that took a deflection off the Caper wall, found its way past Capers keeper Ben Jackson (Bury, ENG).
The second half continued at a frenetic pace, with great crosses and big challenges going in for both sides. StFX had the first real chance as the electric Warren put a shot just over the bar. First half substitute Dylan Lawrence (Ottawa, ON), an offensive player by nature, found himself occupying the same space as Waters along the flank. Lawrence was superb and gave Waters all he could handle and on numerous occasions Lawrence won possession and set the X-Men off on the counter-attack.
In the 64th minute as Josh Read (Bath, ENG) looked to find Hayfield with a firm pass, it was Waters who read the play, intercepted the pass, and capitalized for the visitors with a low hard shot, scoring his second goal of the evening to break the tie and give the Capers a 2-1 advantage.
Less than three minutes later the Capers scored again. As the X-Men went in search of their second equalizer of the game, a Cape Breton challenge was deemed over the line. The foul resulted in an X-Men free kick about 15 yard from the sideline and about 20 yards from the goal line. Hayward stepped up and his kick found the head of Caper's player, which went directly to the feet of Corey Bent. Bent used his great speed to race up the pitch and then some fancy footwork before he chipped a lovely weighted shot over keeper Thomas Pierroway (Conception Bay, NL) to extend the Capers' lead.
The spirited affair was entertaining from start to finish with hard running, silky touches and hard honest tackling. The Capers (5-0-1) showed why they are undefeated, but StFX (5-1-1) are an experienced and committed side that will look forward to their next encounter in Sydney.
The Capers will be back on the pitch Sunday when they travel to Charlottetown to face the UPEI Panthers. The X-Men next see action on October 14th when they host Acadia.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Athletics Communications