The Wanderer Grounds podcast: Halifax summons extra-time magic in tense battle with Ottawa | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Wanderers fullback Zach Fernandez calls on the crowd for noise as his club defeats Atlético Ottawa 3-2 on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023.

The Wanderer Grounds podcast: Halifax summons extra-time magic in tense battle with Ottawa

Sometimes, it takes a little luck to get going. And HFX Wanderers FC couldn’t have summoned their luck at a better moment.

Two days before his Halifax Wanderers hosted Atlético Ottawa in a match with playoff ramifications galore, Wanderers head coach Patrice Gheisar spent a moment to wax philosophical on pressure. His Halifax side has felt its share in recent weeks: In the past fifteen days, the Wanderers have played four matches against playoff-bound opponents—or those eager to steal Halifax’s fifth and final playoff spot. The stakes have never been higher.

“Every game’s a playoff game,” Gheisar said on Saturday, Sept. 16. “[It] either brings the best out of you when you’re against the wall, or it makes you anxious.”

The Wanderers’ backs were against the wall for much of Monday evening. And there were stretches—even long stretches—of looking anxious against Ottawa on Sept. 18: The visitors surged to an early lead (courtesy of former Wanderers striker Sam Salter), and appeared set to spoil the Wanderers’ comeback victory with an equalizer in the 91st minute (again, sparked by Salter). But just when Halifax seemed like they would need to settle for a 2-2 draw with Atlético, a heroic effort from Zach Fernandez and a late clincher from Tomas Giraldo gave the Wanderers a 3-2 victory—and a desperately needed breath of life.

In this week’s Wanderer Grounds episode, Coast reporters Matt Stickland and Martin Bauman reflect on the Wanderers’ Monday night nerves, Gheisar’s U-21 quandary and a tight three matches to go in the regular season. Plus, Wanderers forward Jordan Perruzza joins the show to talk about riding out post-tropical storm Lee and the grandeur of Canada’s Wonderland. Martin makes an immediate fool of himself, but he’s really hoping you won’t notice. He’s sensitive about these things.

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...

Matt Stickland

Matt spent 10 years in the Navy where he deployed to Libya with HMCS Charlottetown and then became a submariner until ‘retiring’ in 2018. In 2019 he completed his Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King’s College. Matt is an almost award winning opinion writer.
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