It was an ugly stat line to be sure. Six losses and one draw was all Valour FC had to show for seven starts in franchise history against mighty Cavalry FC.
On Saturday, the winless streak reached eight but the injury-ravaged Winnipeggers were able to rally from a one-goal deficit to eke out a 1-1 draw before an announced crowd of 3,000 at IG Field.
Keven Aleman’s running left footer escaped the reach of Cavalry goalkeeper Marco Carducci in the 71st minute to tie the game and set the stage for a furious final 20 minutes with first the hosts and then the visitors applying pressure.
Earlier, skipper Nikolas Ledgerwood’s perfectly placed free kick from just outside the box in the 54th minute eluded Valour goalkeeper Matt Silva to give the Calgarians a short-lived lead.
"I might need to give halftime talks before the game because the second half we were fantastic and we really get about it," said Valour head coach Rob Gale. "And that’s what I’m saying... Earlier on in the season we managed games better than we have done now.
"We sometimes take the quick free kick and give the ball away or we take a quick three kick and put ourselves in trouble. Those are the silly moments and against top teams, you have to avoid being your own worst enemy."
The draw allowed Valour to pull to within three points of fourth-place York United in the Canadian Premier League standings.
Earlier in the week, Valour had fallen out of the CPL’s top four for the first time this season.
The Winnipeggers are fifth with a 7-2-9 record and 23 points but have one game in hand on York. Only the top four clubs will qualify for the post-season.
Valour will travel to York for a crucial showdown on Sept. 26 at York Lions Stadium.
"I think we started the game on the front foot, we weren’t set back," said Valour defender Stefan Cebara, whose club held a 6-0-2 record at the end of the Winnipeg bubble but has struggled mightily since. "We didn’t allow them to play like teams have allowed them in this league.
"We went out... in the beginning of the second half and after the goal we conceded, we showed some grit and we got the goal that we needed. I think we could have finished the game off with the few chances... with Moses (Dyer) and another rebound."
Gale club’s had lost four straight coming into the contest.
"I’ll tell you (it was) a fair result but I would have wanted us when we were on top after scoring to go ahead and steal that momentum," said Gale. "Carducci robbed us again a couple of times."
The result kept the Calgarians in second place with 32 points and an 9-5-4. They are three points behind Pacific FC in the race for top spot.
"We scored, should have scored another one and they showed some great spirit to get back into it and make a game of it and then right at the end both sides we’re trying to win... In the grand scheme of things, a points on the road as a point on the road so we’ll bank it."
Valour’s best previous result against Cavalry was a 1-1 draw back on July 27, 2019.
"A point is a point but we’re definitely disappointed we couldn’t get the three points tonight," said Cebara.
CORNERS: Cavalry had 54.2 per cent of possession to Valour’s 45.8 per cent... The hosts had four shots on target while the visitors had three... Moses Dyer and Keven Aleman had two shots apiece.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.