HIGHLIGHTS: Forge FC vs. York United FC (Oct. 1, 2022)
Forge FC booked their ticket to the playoffs on Saturday at Tim Hortons Field, as they defeated 905 Derby rivals York United by a 2-0 score, with a pair of second-half goals from Malik Owolabi-Belewu and Aboubacar Sissoko ultimately making the difference.
York, officially eliminated from the playoff hunt but always up for a trip down the QEW to Hamilton, entered the game somewhat shorthanded with star attacker Mo Babouli picking up an injury this week and thus missing out. Still, Kevin Dos Santos slid over to the middle to play as a number 10, with Michael Petrasso returning to the starting lineup on the left wing. Forge, meanwhile, pushed Tristan Borges into the middle as Alessandro Hojabrpour pulled strings centrally in place of the still-suspended Kyle Bekker.
The match took on a good pace from the early going, with the visiting Nine Stripes taking the role of protagonists immediately. They looked to play with the ball through a high-pressing Forge, although really neither side was much able to trouble the opposing goal in the first half.
Forge came out much stronger to begin the second frame, though, challenging the penalty area more quickly. They won a series of corners 10 minutes into the half, and at last found their breakthrough. Tristan Borges played a short pass to David Choinière, who fed it back to Borges rushing to the end line. Borges sent a cross into the six-yard box where the York ‘keeper Eleias Himaras got a hand to it, but only to tap it behind him where defender Malik Owolabi-Belewu was on hand to head it home for his first CPL goal.
Martin Nash chose to shake up his attack somewhat after conceding, deploying Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio and Max Ferrari to try and stretch the game out a bit.
However, it wouldn’t be long before Forge doubled their advantage. After an initial attempt from a corner was cleared, the ball set up perfectly at the top of the box for Aboubacar Sissoko to blast it goalward and score from distance.
Although York mustered a few chances in the dying stages to try and at least get on the scoresheet, the Forge defence ultimately held firm to preserve the victory and officially stamp the Hamilton side’s ticket to the postseason. With all four contests between the sides now in the books, the two Ontario foes wound up even, with both teams taking a game in each venue.
55′ — Malik Owolabi-Belewu (Forge FC)
69′ — Aboubacar Sissoko (Forge FC)
31′ — Yellow: Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
89′ — Yellow: Matthew Baldisimo (York United)