HFX were officially eliminated from playoff contention in their final match of the season on Sunday afternoon, drawing 1-1 with Atlético Ottawa at Wanderers Grounds.
The home side opened the scoring early, taking advantage of a mistake from Dylon Powley in the Ottawa goal. Diving to try and get the ball after a pass over the top from Andre Rampersad, Powley spilled it to the feet of Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé. The Wanderers midfielder cut into the six-yard box with the goal before passing it across the face of goal to Samuel Salter for an easy finish.
It was a third shot on target for the Wanderers in the opening eleven minutes, as Joao Morelli and Pierre Lamothe had shots saved by Powley in the early stages. Morelli forced another stop out of the Ottawa goalkeeper in the 22nd minute, but Ottawa’s defenders were able to limit HFX’s chances better after the early goal.
The visitors failed to register a shot on target in the opening half, but equalized following a set piece not long after halftime.
Ryan Telfer fired a free kick at Wanderers goalkeeper Kieran Baskett, which the young shotstopper was able to keep out. The ball fell to former Wanderers defender Matthew Arnone, who headed it home from close range to make it 1-1. During his celebration, Arnone was sent off — seemingly given a second yellow card for kicking the corner flag.
Already getting the majority of the chances, and now up a man as well, HFX Wanderers continued that trend for the remainder of the match, pushing desperately to try and find a winner. Salter and Morelli both continued to test Powley in the Ottawa net, but they were matched by important saves.
Alex Marshall floated a long, high shot toward the top left corner in the 71st minute. It looked destined for the back of the net, but Powley was able to stretch and get to it in time.
In the final moments of the match, with the clock ticking in stoppage time, they nearly found a winner with multiple chances off corner kicks. Dylon Powley made a huge stop to deny Alejandro Portal in the 95th minute, and Wanderers goalkeeper Kieran Baskett got his head on the ball with one of the last touches of the match, but his effort went wide.
With the draw, HFX Wanderers have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. They needed all three points to temporarily move into the top four. Instead, they finish their 2021 season in 6th place, and York United clinch the fourth and final playoff spot.
11′ — Samuel Salter (HFX Wanderers)
57′ — Matthew Arnone (Atlético Ottawa)
16′ — Yellow: Peter Schaale (HFX Wanderers)
25′ — Yellow: Miguel Acosta (Atlético Ottawa)
41′ — Yellow: Alejandro Portal (HFX Wanderers)
53′ — Yellow: Matthew Arnone (Atlético Ottawa)
56′ — Yellow: Eriks Santos (HFX Wanderers)
57′ — Red: Matthew Arnone (Atlético Ottawa) — second yellow card
67′ — Yellow: Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers)
88′ — Yellow: Jems Geffrard (HFX Wanderers)