York United scored early and often at the Wanderers Grounds on Monday afternoon, as they spoiled the Natal Day party by defeating HFX Wanderers FC 4-2. Osaze De Rosario scored a brace, as Jordan Wilson and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio opened their 2022 scoring accounts en route to a comfortable victory away from home by Martin Nash’s side.
Wanderers boss Stephen Hart opted to test out a new attacking look for his side, with summer signings Fumpa Mwandwe and Ludwig Kodjo-Amla both getting their first starts for the club up front. Nash, meanwhile, saw his side buoyed by the return of Jordan Wilson to midfield, as Osaze De Rosario led the line for them once again.
The visitors seemed to take the initiative from kickoff in this one, as York carried the ball forward with patient possession and sought to break down the Wanderers — who looked for opportunities on the counter-attack. Just 15 minutes in, though, York did indeed find their breakthrough from a set-piece. They won a free kick near the corner flag after spending a while in the Wanderers’ half, and Noah Verhoeven sent the in-swinging ball across the six-yard box, where it found Jordan Wilson in perfect position to hold off his marker and head it firmly in.
York continued to play on the front foot after scoring, with one De Rosario header nearly beating Christian Oxner. Mwandwe produced the best early chance for Halifax, though, as he danced his way into the box and cut it toward the penalty spot before putting a shot just over the crossbar. Five minutes later, a dipping set-piece deflected to Sam Salter all alone at the back post, but the Wanderers’ scoring leader couldn’t sort his feet out and put his shot over the bar as well.
Despite the improvements from Halifax, though, York would soon strike again. Chrisnovic N’sa found himself in space and picked out Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio in the box. His attempted shot bounced off the grass and over traffic before hitting the crossbar, falling at the feet of Mateo Hernández. The Argentine sent a quick pass across to De Rosario, who finished comfortably to put his side up 2-0 in the first half.
Coming out of halftime, York picked up right where they left off. De Rosario drew several defenders toward himself at the top of the box before playing a sly pass to Kevin Dos Santos coming in from the left. Dos Santos immediately threaded a perfect ball across the goalmouth to Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, as the Australian put it home for his first goal with the Nine Stripes.
Frustrated by his team’s performance, Wanderers boss Hart went to his bench after the third goal, deploying Mour Samb in place of Kodjo-Amla to try and bring his attack to life. The home side did grow into the game a little more after going down by three, clearly quite desperate to find at least a consolation goal. They began buzzing increasingly around the York penalty area, though high-danger chances were few and far between with York playing more defensively with a lead.
Eventually, though, the Wanderers did manage to get themselves on the scoreboard. They won a corner kick which Zach Fernandez delivered sharply, finding the head of defender Eriks Santos to cut York’s lead to two with just over 25 minutes left to play.
It would not be long until York restored the three-goal lead, though. Cédric Toussaint bore down on the box from the right flank, and Halifax ‘keeper Christian Oxner came well out of his six-yard box to challenge for the ball. Toussaint cut it back toward the centre for De Rosario, who slotted it into the mostly-empty net for his second of the afternoon.
The Wanderers would threaten at least one more time. With just five minutes to play, Mwandwe found himself hauled down in the box by Chrisnovic N’sa’s errant boot, prompting referee Fabrizio Stasolla to award the penalty kick late in the match. Akeem Garcia stepped up to the spot and buried his strike at the left post, reducing York’s lead to two once again.
The Nine Stripes went on to see out the remaining 10 minutes of the match quite comfortably, as De Rosario climbed into third in the golden boot race with his eight goals, and York edged closer to the Wanderers in the standings.
15′ — Jordan Wilson (York United)
35′ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
50′ — Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio (York United)
64′ — Eriks Santos (HFX Wanderers FC)
69′ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
86′ — Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers FC) (Pen.)
36′ — Yellow: Mateo Hernández (York United)
45+2′ — Yellow: Dominick Zator (York United)
60′ — Yellow: Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio (York United)
85′ — Yellow: Chrisnovic N’sa (York United)