Oakville Blue Devils' Matt George and Woodbridge Strikers' Quillan Roberts were the main players in a Matchweek 24 opener that decided the men's divisional champions, with both keepers managing a clean sheet and sending their sides through to the 2017 League1 Ontario Men's Final.
"Of the things that went right, I think the goalkeeping was the difference in the game," said Oakville head coach, Duncan Wilde. "Both keepers played very well."
"The front-lines for both sides were also very dangerous whenever they got in the final third. There could have a been a goal at any stage of the game."
"It was an exciting game for all the fans and everyone I spoke with said it was the most exciting game all season, bar the last ten minutes," he added.
"We're just really pleased to get the points total, be champions of the western conference and now we will represent that conference in the final."
Matt George (Photo: Dave Chant)
Both sides gave little quarter in the early going, with chances following both ways. Efforts on goal were either parried away or were slightly off the mark, leaving both managers heaving a sigh of relief and looking to manage the game in the final third of regular time.
"I thought it was a very good game, I wish we had more games like this during the season," said Woodbridge head coach, Peter Pinizzotto.
"I thought there was good play from both teams and of course both teams needed just a point. We went at it and had three great chances in the first half and a couple chances in the box in the second half."
"Basically we played to win, even though in the last ten minutes there was not much pressure on the ball so we cycled it and they did the same thing. We weren't going to force play to give it away at that stage and it just happened in the last ten minutes that it made sense to keep the ball."
Quillan Roberts (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
Both sides will also have been eyeing each other up ahead of their next meeting in the #L1OMFINAL on October 20 @ Ontario Soccer Centre (7:30 p.m.). The winner of this match will win the 2017 League1 Ontario men's title and book themselves a spot in the 2018 Canadian Championship against the top professional clubs in the country.
"When it got so close to the end and you've worked so hard - it's twelve months work for both ourselves and Woodbridge - and the prize is so great, we're just not going to gamble anything at the end," said Wilde.
"We made sure nobody got hurt and just managed the play and we're very happy to take a point against such strong opposition and we definitely look forward to meeting them in the final."
"We have good players on this team that can make a difference," said Woodbridge's Pinizzotto.
"I think the final will be another great game. They are a top team just like us and can score goals from different people. I think it should be a very good final."