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FC London Clinch Semi-Final Berth After 1-0 Win Over Hamilton

By Johnny Stancati, 08/11/18, 3:45PM EDT


FC London moved six points clear atop the women's division with a 1-0 victory away to Hamilton United Elite, guaranteeing a semi-final berth and home advantage as well.

In a match that had plenty of goal scoring opportunities, it was the keepers who stole the show, with Marilena Spagnolo for the home side recording five saves and Emily Gillet from London recording four.

It was the visitors who came out guns blazing when Daniella Strano found space at the edge of the penalty area and forced Spagnolo into her first save of the match.

London grabbed the lone goal just minutes later, when Claire Monyard (11') was sprung free down the left and blasted a hard shot past Spagnolo.

Spagnolo was called into action shortly after, this time gathering Monyard's effort from close range to keep the deficit at one.

FC London had a great chance to double their lead when Ashley Campbell was sprung through on goal but sent her effort sailing over the crossbar.

Hamilton had their first real opportunity of the match when Rachel Rosborough fired an effort wide of the London goal just before the hour mark.

It was the home side again minutes later who were putting on the pressure when Rosborough played an enticing ball across the face of goal but no teammate could arrive in time to get a foot to it.

Jasmine Burke made a crucial goal-line clearance on 34 minutes to keep her side in the match as a first half full of action came to a close.

Hamilton began the second half with much more energy than the first as they searched for the all important equalizer.

Hamilton’s best chance of the match came in the 52nd minute when it was Rosborough again testing Gillet from a very close range, forcing the London keeper into a diving reaction save to her right.

There was a little scare on 61 minutes when Gillet came out to gather a routine cross but fumbled the ball; however, no Hamilton player was in the area to slot it home.

Nicole Nielsen had an opportunity to increase her side's lead with only fifteen minutes remaining when she cut in from the right wing but her effort went straight into the hands of Spagnolo.

The final opportunity of the match fell to FC London, Campbell firing a shot swiftly on the half-turn forcing Spagnolo into her final save of the match.

Claire Monyard's goal in the 11th minute would be enough for FC London to walk away with a 1-0 victory, secure all three points, and become the first team to book a spot in the semi-finals.

FC London will have five days to prepare for a midweek fixture at home to Unionville Milliken S.C. on August 15 (8 p.m.) at the German Canadian FC Stadium Field, London.

Hamilton United Elite will close out their season on August 19 (kickoff TBD) with a visit to Toronto Azzurri Blizzard at a venue TBD.