Forge inflicts ‘tough loss’ on Pacific

FORGE FC  3
PACIFIC FC  2

Nolan Wirth held the fort for as long as he could, but the Forge FC attack finally broke through in the second half, allowing the visiting side from Hamilton to prevail 3-2 over Pacific FC on Saturday afternoon at Westhills Stadium.

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Wirth, the Pacific FC goalkeeper who hails from Comox, withstood 10 shots from inside the 18-yard-box in the first half, making numerous point-blank stops to keep the game scoreless after the first 45 minutes.

But goals early in the second half at 47 and 54 minutes for Forge (1-1) silenced the crowd of 2,609 at Westhills and sent the visitors to their first win of the second half of the Canadian Premier League season, while dropping Pacific FC to 0-2 in the summer/fall portion.

“Nolan did extremely well but I thought at the other end, in the second half, we could have had one or two more [goals], so it was a tough loss,” said Pacific FC head coach Michael Silberbauer, whose team’s overall record on the season drops to 3-7-2.

Wirth, making his third straight start in goal for PFC, had to deal with Forge FC’s dynamic duo up front of big Emery Welshman and former Canadian Under-20 star Tristan Borges, whose pair of goals on Saturday gives him six on the season, the highest in the CPL.

“They’ve got some skill up front, for sure, and we made some mistakes early on in the second half, mostly from not communicating with each other and getting exposed, and by the time we corrected them, it was too late,” Wirth said.

“But we’re not too far away from getting some wins. It’s about finding consistency because we’ve shown in stretches we can be successful. We just have to do it for 90 minutes now.”

After a frustrating first half in which he had three shots on goal, Borges, from Toronto, found the back of the net early in the second half to give Forge FC the lead.

He also added the insurance marker in the 80th minute after Pacific FC kept pouring it on in search of the tying marker.

Borges has battled nagging injuries this season, but when healthy is one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the CPL.

“We’ve been managing his minutes because he’s not totally healthy, but even when he’s not, he makes things happen and you saw that tonight,” said Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, whose club finished second to Cavalry FC in the first-half standings with a 6-3-1 record.

Borges is nearing 100 per cent health and that’s coming at the right time as Forge FC is gearing up for its first CONCACAF Champions League match, on Aug. 1 against Antigua FC.

“Any time you can score goals and help your team win, it’s always positive and that’s what I’m working toward now, is trying to get my match fitness up and helping get the team wins,” Borges said.

“Today, we didn’t get frustrated after not finishing our chances in the first half and kept pushing forward in the second half and it paid off.

“They made a good push to get the momentum back, but we stuck with it and got the win.”

After Borges’s strike just two minutes into the second half, Pacific FC answered right back, with a Terran Campbell header, just two minutes later. Victor Blasco had the other PFC goal at the 85th minute.

The game was the first of three games in seven days for Pacific FC as they head to Ontario to take on York9 on Wednesday before returning home for a match against HFX Wanderers of Halifax next Saturday.

bdrewry@timescolonist.com

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