A second half surge by Blue Devils - led by goals from Chris Mitchell (55') and Anthony Novak (85') - handed League1 Ontario champs Oakville the 2015 Inter-Provincial Cup after a 2-2 draw in the second leg, and an overall aggregate score of 5-3.
Oakville Blue Devils appeared to struggle in the first half as hosts CS Mont-Royal Outremont Griffons turned a page from their conservative first leg performance and fielded some fresh personnel in an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
Gone was the first leg goalscorer Arnel Dagrou, but a front two of Sissoko and Ritchy-Andy moved dynamically with creative attacking midfielder and ex-Canada pool player Sean Rosa and wingers Dias and Djema to pull apart an uncharacteristically nervous Oakville back four. The absence of Oakville captain and defensive midfielder Taylor McNamara to injury was particularily evident.
Griffons' Sissoko (28') capitalized mid-way through the first half, before setting up partner Ritchie-Andy (36') under ten minutes later. Oakville were on the back foot and struggling to adjust, and the Griffons now led the contest with an aggregate score of 4-3.
"The Quebec boys played really really well, they were technical, controlled the game, were physical and running in behind us," said head coach, Duncan Wilde. "I think at half-time they thought they had us. However we have said all season that we are the best second half team and we do it ever so well.
Everything would change as winger Tyler Wason was surprisingly substituted for defensive midfielder Chris Mitchell - a courageous move from the technical staff as Wason was a two-goal hero in the first leg.
The tactical change paid dividends immediately as Mitchell quickly stabilized the central area for Devils, cutting off service to Rosa, Ritchie-Andy and Sissoko, and allowing central partners Hernandez and Doran to step up the pitch and pressure the Griffons' neat possessive play.
"We have three coaches, and sometimes we have three different points of view, but we decided to sit Chris in the middle and build from there," said Wilde. "It was a bit of a gamble to put in a defensive mid at that point, but it worked out and the coaches will certainly take some of the credit."
Following the break, Doran's freedom to advance was obvious, as he went desperately close on a free header inside the box within seven minutes of the restart. It would prove to be a warning bell for the Griffons.
Within minutes, Mitchell (55') had put the visitors ahead and stoked the passions of 150 travelling Devils supporters after his glancing header eluded Griffons' netminder Manogo and put the Devils back in front on aggregate. The Devils now had the bit between their teeth, and despite being 2-1 behind in the match, were back in front in Cup with an aggregate score of 4-3 overall.
"We had said we wouldn't sit back and defend and we didn't," added Wilde. "We always knew we would need the away goal and after substitute Chris [Mitchell] got it we knew we thought we might even get a few more. I think Mitchell was the player of the game, and probably in both legs of the Cup."
The always dangerous Doran and Novak now began to run at their opponents with purpose, forcing Manogo into last-ditch saves on either side of the hour mark. Griffons' central back Anastopolous succumbed to the tension in the 71st minute after a second caution for dissent. Griffons were now down to ten men and in need of a goal. The momentum had shifted in favour of the visitors from Ontario.
A flurry of substitutions over ten minutes indicated efforts by the technical staff of both sides to stabilize the match, and score the all-important next goal.
It would be Oakville sub Brandon Duarte to repay his managers' faith within eleven minutes, receiving a ball deep in the Griffons right flank, turning and centring for the streaking Novak (85') - this tally would prove to be the winner. Oakville are the 2015 Division III Canadian champions!