A four goal haul from centre-forward Emery Welshman was the difference on the night in an otherwise close battle between a hard-pressing Kingston side, and a young, fast, well-drilled Sigma FC.
Kingston lined up with a 4-4-2 midfield diamond, with Mchugh anchoring behind a central triangle of player-coach Massie, Arnold, and Babineau, which allowed the Clippers to overload the middle of the pitch and create some slick passing patterns, and some good penetrative plays through to the pace and power of front duo Murphy and Langwa.
In contrast, Sigma's gameplan revolved around the flanks, with Welshman in a central role, Pereira on the left, and Kalonaji occupying the right flank, in an attacking trio. Sigma would hold their width through Pereira and Kalonaji throughout the match, looking for fullbacks MacDonald and D'Souza to provide overlaps and attacking overloads in wide areas, where Kingston were extremely vulnerable due to the number of players through the middle.
However, the opening goal would defy all tactical arrangements, as Sigma's ball movement from wings to central area in their attacking third was simply too quick for Kingston, and Sigma central midfielder Perez found himself top of the box with an eternity to pick out his options. A delicious slide-rule pass split the defence, finding Welshman perfectly peeling off his mark to collect, round keeper Lanzinger, and finish easily on sixteen minutes.
Clippers wouldn't hang their heads though, and some exceptional direct passing combos from Massie, Babineau and Murphy led to Massie having a low drilled shot cleared off the Sigma goal-line only a minute following the Sigma opener. A second attacking pattern involving the same three central players led to Murphy connecting on a full volley just inside the box on thirty-three minutes, but his contact on the ball was awry and the attempt missed the target.
Yet every time Clippers would get their hopes up following positive play, Sigma's Welshman would pop up to destroy them. On thirty-five minutes Kalonaji whipped in a low cross from the right, and Welshman simply beat his mark to the ball to finish with class. Just prior to the half-time interval, Welshman picked up the ball inside his own half and ran through the entire Kingston defence before bending a final effort low to the back post that had Lanzinger beaten, but was cleared at the death by centre-back Eveleigh.
Second half again started with chances for both sides, as Sigma's Morgado pinged a forty-yard effort off the crossbar, before Babineau missed a golden chance with a mis-cued left footed volley before fifty minutes was up. Halftime substitute Ferritto replaced Kalonaji, and quickly repaid his manager's decision after meeting a Sigma corner in the fifty-fourth with a well placed header in the six-yard box. Another Sigma counter in the sixty-eighth minute through left back MacDonald provided a mirror image of Welshman's opener, as the low hard cross was met perfectly by the foot of Welshman to complete his hat-trick. 4-1 for Sigma with just over an hour played.
Kingston clearly took the fourth Sigma goal as a late rallying point, pushing numbers forward on every attacking play, desperate to force an opener for the home side. Kingston were filling the box with crosses and shots from distance, racking up spot kicks from the corner, and asking questions of a Sigma backline that was well marshalled by Holdridge and Mclean. Attacking subs from Kingston of Masucol for Langwa, Zelt for Arnold, and a diving header from Murphy that narrowly missed the target on seventy-two minutes gave some hint of what was to come.
A downward header from Babineau in the seventy-eighth minute didn't have the power to threaten GK subsitute Iacobellis, but Murphy would meet the next corner high in the air and make no mistake on a glancing header that left Sigma's fresh netminder no chance in the eightieth. 4-1 was now the scoreline, and Clippers began to sense an unlikely comeback.
But that sense was quickly extinguished as Welshman collected a beautiful defence splitting ball from substitute Jebbison, before again rounding the keeper and tucking away his fourth in the eighty-six minute, ending the contest.
With the result, Kingston finish the season in ninth position, while Sigma wrap up third spot, in the League1 Ontario final standings.
Sigma currently also occupy the second position in Group B L1 Cup standings, with their progress to the next round dependent on the result of a final Group B match between Vaughan Azzurri and Master's FA Saints on October 14, 9 p.m. @ McNaughton Field in Maple.