Match Report – Pacific FC v HFX Wanderers FC: Tridents push to the final whistle but are made to settle for a draw
September 11, 2023
Story of the Match
There were plenty of things to celebrate on Friday night at Starlight Stadium thanks to the festivities associated with Fan Appreciation Night. Along with the pre-game highlighting of Pacific FC’s supporter groups, at the end of Pacific’s 1-1 draw with the visiting HFX Wanderers FC, kids and fans of all ages were invited onto the pitch for an autograph signing/impromptu meet and greet with the players and coaches. Although the result wasn’t entirely what the club wanted on Friday night, it was still a special opportunity for the team and its supporters to connect.
In the match itself, the Tridents started on the front foot and were unlucky not to have a couple goals by the end of the first half. Instead, it was the Wanderers who went into the halftime break with the lead after snagging a goal with the last kick of the first 45 minutes. Feeling unfortunate to go into halftime down a goal, Pacific didn’t feel too sorry for themselves though and came out firing again to start the second half. That pressure was then rewarded with a goal in the 57th minute when Ayman Sellouf beat his defender in the box and was taken down for a penalty. The Dutchman then stepped up and smashed the ball into the side netting to even up the game at 1-1. Pacific kept pushing to the final whistle (with many players falling to the turf in exhaustion when it finally came) but the ball just wouldn’t find the back of the net. In the end, both teams went home with just a point a piece.
Although not the three points they wanted, Pacific still kept pace with the other playoff teams and remain in the hunt for all silverware available this season. The team won’t be satisfied, however, with just keeping pace, and will look to make a major statement during this final stretch of the regular season – most of which will come away from home.
After playing the previous two matches on the Island, the Tridents now head to Ontario for a three-match road trip which will truly test the team’s resolve over the final stretch of the regular season. First up is a mid-week match against Atlético Ottawa on Wednesday which counts as both teams’ game in hand – after that match all six teams with a realistic shot at a playoff spot will all be on 24 games played.
That match against Ottawa is another crucial moment in the playoff race as the tension really starts to build this September.
PFC Standout Player: Kunle Dada-Luke
Dada-Luke was active all up Pacific’s right side of the pitch, all match long against Halifax. The full-back won 10 duels and completed two of three dribbles as he helped control his flank on Friday night.
Dada-Luke has been ever-present for the Tridents in 2023 and although what he does is always flashy, it can sometimes be easy to overlook exactly just how crucial he is to the team’s shape in possession.
Against the Wanderers in this match, Dada-Luke got forward early and often but his most notable contributions came late on as Pacific pushed for a winner. The 23-year-old played a role in the move that ended in a handball by the Halifax defender (which was originally given as a penalty but later overturned to just a free-kick right on the edge of the box), as well as playing the cross for David Brazão’s injury time chance that was deflected away from goal at the last moment.