Elation and heartbreak - welcome to the playoffs
Simcoe County Rovers kicked off the weekend action with a 5-1 win over North Mississauga. Paul Karagianakos stole the show and found the back of the net four times to help his side move into the top four. For the Panthers, it was the most they’ve conceded in a single game this season.
The goals continued to fly in when Burlington travelled to St Catharines Roma Wolves. The Bayhawks scored six without reply, despite St Catharines beating title challengers Blue Devils last time out, to keep themselves in the race for the playoffs. It remains extremely close in the men’s division, with sixth to ninth separated by one point.
Alliance score 13
Alliance United put in a performance to remember on Saturday as they scored 13 goals at Unionville Milliken. It was a frantic start to the game and both teams had scored within the first 12 minutes, but unfortunately for the hosts, the floodgates soon opened and Alliance were 7-1 up at the break. Nikola Stakic helped himself to a first-half hat-trick with Prince David-Amanda netting four in the second half.
The emphatic win leaves Alliance four points behind the top two and as the division’s top scorers, while Unionville Milliken will want to put this game behind them as quickly as possible.
Elsewhere, leaders Scrosoppi continued their winning ways. Tomasz Skublak grabbed his fourth consecutive brace to help his side beat North Toronto Nitros 2-1. The win keeps Scrosoppi six points clear while the Nitros slipped down to eighth.
Sigma secured a high-scoring win at home to BVB IA Waterloo. The visitors opened their account for the day through Josip-Pavle Stojanovic and a total of six goals from six different scorers gave them an important three points as they look to hold on to their slim playoff hopes.
Darby were 2-0 winners against Windsor City and FC London beat ProStars 2-1. Darby’s victory on Saturday keeps their hopes of a Premier Division place alive on the Road to 2024.
Women’s Playoff Semifinals
In the Women’s Premier Division, history repeated itself as NDC Ontario and Alliance United secured a place in the title decider for the second successive season.
Vaughan Azzurri once again slipped up against Alliance United and have now lost the last four meetings against Alliance 2-1. Laura Gosse opened the scoring in the first half for Alliance but Nia Fleming-Thompson pulled a goal back after the break. Both teams pushed on for a winner and Kristin Parkes was the eventual hero, scoring an 89th-minute decider to send her side through to the trophy game.
NDC Ontario’s path to the final was more comfortable as they saw off FC London 4-0. The game was level at half-time, but the reigning champions turned on the style in the second period, scoring four in 33 minutes with Annabelle Chukwu leading the way with a brace.
Alliance United and FC London had both progressed to the semifinal stage via penalties in their quarterfinal match-ups against Woodbridge Strikers and North Toronto Nitros respectively.
Attention now turns to the final on Sunday. NDC Ontario were 3-1 winners when the sides met in 2022 but Alliance will be determined to go one better this year and end the season with silverware.
Action at the top of the table
There were also two Men’s Premier Division games on Sunday. Blue Devils and Electric City went into the weekend third and fifth respectively and played out a five-goal thriller. The Peterborough side thought they had won it through substitute Alex Lewis in the 83rd minute, but Brandon Duarte grabbed a stoppage-time brace to snatch a 3-2 win for Blue Devils.
The dramatic result leaves Blue Devils in third place, level on points with second-placed Vaughan Azzurri who were also in action on Sunday and hosted Master’s FA. Christopher Campoli scored twice as his side won 4-0, keeping the gap to Scrosoppi to six points.
There is one more match in this gameweek as playoff hopefuls Guelph United have a crucial fixture against Hamilton United.
Blue Devils back to winning ways