Antigonish, NS – In a battle of U SPORTS top ten teams, the No.1 ranked Cape Breton Capers outlasted the No. 9 StFX X-Men by a score of 2-1 in a scintillating match Friday evening at Oland Stadium. The Capers improve to 2-0-1 on the season, while the X-Men suffer their first loss and fall to 2-1-0.
The intriguing first half ended scoreless. StFX and CBU both exchanged dominant spells with each team each having their chances in dangerous areas. William Warren (Windsor, NS) looked dangerous down the flank and, when there was a need, tucked into midfield in search of the ball. For the Capers, Caelan Budhoo (Winnipeg, MB) often found himself with the ball at his feet in good positions.
The X-Men tried to make the field as wide as possible in order to advance the ball, but the well-organized Capers made it difficult for them to do so. The Capers utilized the middle of the field more, but also found it difficult as the aggressive X players, especially Cole Suart (Calgary, AB) made the task a tedious one. As the first half whistle neared, the tense nature of the match began to show in an increase in heated challenges that would boil over into the second half.
The second half began with both teams in search of the go-ahead marker. The first attempts at target came from the formidable Caper midfielders, Jack Simpson (Redding, UK) and Marcus Campinale (Edinburgh, UK). StFX were also applying serious pressure with rightback Blake Fenton (Halifax, NS) making a number of great runs and strikes to put the Caper keeper Ben Jackson (Bury, UK) under pressure. As the game approached the hour mark the challenges became heavier and the game was fortunate not to have a player seriously injured.
The game's first goal came via a bullet throw-in by Matt Larter (Waverly, NS) that found the head of defender Daniel Pritchard (Nuneaton, UK). Minutes later, the Capers doubled their lead via a free kick. Cory Bent (Preston, UK) launched a great ball in that StFX failed to handle. The ensuing shot on target was played on the line by X defender Josh Read (Bath, UK) and the referee had no choice but to show him red card. Up stepped Caper captain Stuart Heath (Belfast, UK) who calmly deposited the spot kick.
The X-Men were down but not out and continued to press in search of a goal. The goal was to come in injury time courtesy of Dan Hayfield (Exeter, UK) who fired a brilliant 35-yard strike to put StFX within one, but they would come no closer as time ran out.
Hayfield earned the nod as the player of the game for the X-Men, while Bent was named the Subway player of the game for the Capers.
Both teams are back in action this weekend. StFX travels to Halifax on Saturday to play Saint Mary's at 3:15 pm, while Cape Breton is on the road to Charlottetown on Sunday to meet UPEI, also at 3:15 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information