Moncton — Goals were hard to come by in Moncton late Sunday afternoon as both U de Moncton and UPEI played to a scoreless tie in a hard-fought battle on natural grass.
Moncton came out strong early in the first half, controlling the midfield and virtually everything in the air.
They were able to turn the Panthers backfour on a number of occasions and take hard shots from outside that fortunately, for the most part, went wide. The Panthers managed a couple of counter attacks.
UPEI’s best chance came midway through the first half on a nice cross to the middle of the net from Ibrahima Sonah, just inside the six-yard box that somehow midfielder Brett Hogan skied over the goal.
In the second half, coach Lewis Page made adjustments to his midfield which immediately paid dividends in the Panthers being able to control more of the midfield and generate more attack.
Moncton had their chances to score what would have been the game winner as well.
Around the 75th-minute mark, Panther keeper Trevor Shaw was forced to save a low shot resulting on the ball deflecting to dead centre in front of goal. A hard Moncton drive that deflected off centerback Cole MacMillan was all that kept the ball out of goal. Both teams traded opportunities as the game wound down and, with 30 seconds left in stoppage time, it looked as though UPEI had the winner as midfielder Kyle Dutton sent Sonah down the right side all alone. His strike just skimmed by the open far post.
“Moncton are a good side and it was a fast-paced game going both ways,” said Page. “It was a game that could have been 3-0 for us or 3-0 for them or 3-3. So we have to be a little tighter defensively and then be prepared to take our chances up front.”
Moncton outshot the Panthers 15-9 and outchanced UPEI 8-6. Moncton showed their grittiness, outfouling UPEI 24-19 while the Panthers picked up one yellow card. Moncton also had the edge in corner kicks 9-4.
UPEI will go back to the training field on Tuesday to prepare for a road game against Saint Mary’s on Friday and back at home on Saturday against UNB.
It was a bit of a gritty game with the Mount Allison putting up a good fight but the high-pressure Panthers were just too much as they outpowered Mount Allison 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at the UPEI Turf Field.
It was UPEI that drew first blood in the 12th minute on a nice cross in from the right flank from wing back Dillon Wight to Jimmie Mayaleh.
An eight-yard strike got the Panthers off on the right foot. UPEI demonstrated possession and ball control for most of the first half but were just unable to finish on that final pass. Then in the 42nd minute, Mount Allison stunned the Panthers on a goalmouth scramble finished by Jeff Owen.
It took less than a minute for UPEI to regain the lead when midfielder Brett Hogan let go a 30-yard rocket that beat Mount A keeper Jonas Hammar just inside his right post. The half ended 2-1 for the Panthers.
The second half was not much different, with UPEI not being able to take their chances. It wasn’t until two minutes into stoppage time that the Panthers were able to ice the game on a good finish from rookie striker Ibrahima Sanoh off a nice pass from Jared Murphy.
Sophomore keeper Trevor Shaw picked up his first win of the season for the Panthers.
Stats on the day showed a wide margin favouring UPEI with a 26-9 edge in shots at goal and 9-2 lead in goal-scoring chances. Mount Allison outfouled UPEI 16-12 and picked up three yellow cards as opposed to two for the Panthers. UPEI had eight corner kicks as opposed to two for the Mounties.
“Full credit to Mt. A coming in here and battling after coming off an evening game against UNB last night,” said coach Lewis Page.
“It was a good start for us in parts. We played well for periods in the game and then we got back in to some bad habits. What was good I was happy with, now we have to work on some consistency.”