An dismissal to Sanjaxx forward Israel Perrin in the second minute, and a second half rush of goals from Oakville Blue Devils' Braden Culver (26'), Anthony Novak (70' pen.), Stephen Ademolu (73') and Felipe Vilela (89'), handed Oakville a 4-0 result and left them needing only one point from their last match to win the men's west division.
"I didn't want the red card, I'd much rather play against eleven," said Oakville Blue Devils head coach, Duncan Wilde. "We had to make a number of changes already and that forced us into further changes, which would have rather not made, but we did."
"It affected our rhythm for a little while and made us readjust," he added. "We went to play 3-5-2 and it took us a while to get our rhythm but we scored our goal and were good value for it. We could have been four or five nothing by half-time after hitting the post and missing a couple good chances. There was a little bit of anxiety I think. We have had some tough games of late and we just want to knock off the end of the season point by point."
The Sanjaxx Lions battled gamely to stay in the match after going down a man, and kept Oakville on their toes for much of the first half, forcing lapses in concentration at both ends of the pitch at crucial moments. Oakville outshot Sanjaxx by a wide margin, but struggled to get much purchase or accuracy on their efforts. Culver's early goal was the lone exception, dispatched with some composure from six yards out.
"We have Kemar Rowe in the middle of the park, the holding midfielder, and if you look at the game you can see he stands out," said Sanjaxx assistant coach, Devon Porter.
"He is a former Jamaica U20 invitee so he understands football and is a marshall in the middle of the park for us. He tried to recoup everybody, talk to them and make sure they were in their positions instead of chasing the ball and running all over the place."
"In the second half, things fell apart because we have young guys, they tired, and when you tire the brain doesn't click as much," he added. "They are young, but they will learn."
Oakville found their edge in the second half and began to create chance after chance, with first Novak finishing a penalty, Ademolu initiating and finishing a brilliant team move, and Vilela smashing away a quality solo effort from the edge of the box.
"We pushed three forward, we wanted to put the game to bed," said Wilde. "Our team shape and system will be completely different for Wednesday but we came out with a game plan today and for that final twenty minutes in the second half we dominated and were clinical so I'm happy with that."
Oakville and Woodbridge head into their Wednesday night fixture with both sides only needing a point to clinch first place in their respective divisions and force a rematch in the 2017 League1 Ontario Championship Final. Wilde says his side will go there with only one objective in mind.
"We're going to look to take three points on Wednesday," he said. "We've known for some time that mathematically the division is in our hands, all we need to do is take our points."
"Sigma need to win their final two games to get to 55 points and we are already there. A point gets it done on Wednesday but we will definitely be going out looking for three."
Sanjaxx Lions will next play Toronto FC III on October 8 at Monarch Park, Toronto.
Oakville Blue Devils will next play Woodbridge Strikers on October 4 at Bronte Athletic, Oakville.