It was a rainy Thursday evening in London and fans were treated to a physical game between FC London and Oakville Blue Devils as the teams battled for playoff positioning.
Oakville Blue Devils won 1-0 as Sako Hirano (57') carried them to victory and sent the FC London fans home wet and sad.
In the early part of the game, FC London controlled much of the possession and moved the ball around, but were unable to get behind or penetrate the Oakville defensive shape.
The game was physical from the outset as both teams were whistled for fouls. The first caution of the game came in the eighth minute as Oakville's Hitesh Joshi was given a caution for a tackle from behind. In the 14th minute FC London's Marko Maletic also saw yellow for a late tackle in the midfield.
As the first half progressed, the Oakville Blue Devils began to assert themselves offensively. In the 15th minute, Oakville Blue Devils had a great chance as the ball fell to the feet of current league leading scorer, Anthony Novak, who smashed a ball that FC London keeper Anthony Sokalski was just able to push out wide for a corner.
In the 20th minute, Oakville was given another caution as Hirano committed a late tackle. By the 26th minute, Oakville had a 4-0 shots on target advantage, but were unable to find the back of the net.
In last five minutes of the first half FC London was able to retain possession and was looking for ways to break down the Oakville shape but were unable to create any chances that would trouble Lou Birnstigl, who had a relatively easy night in the Oakville net.
The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline and saw Oakville out-chance FC London with 5-1 shots on target advantage.
The second half was a continuation of the first half, Oakville pushing forward and looking the more dangerous of the two sides. Oakville's continued attack was rewarded. The ball fell to the feet of Hirano (57') in the 18-yard box and he buried it into the bottom left corner to give Oakville a 1-0 lead.
The goal energized Oakville as they continued to push forward and look for an important second goal. FC London looked tired and seemed to drop deeper as the half progressed. FC London, known for their combination play, were unable to get going all game due to the pressure, physical play and shape of Oakville.
Many of the FC London attacks were individual with Oakville having plenty of players behind the ball to stop the attack.
The physical play continued in the second half. In the 69th and 74th minutes, respectively, Oakville's Taylor McNamara and Stephen Ademolu were cautioned for late tackles.
In the final quarter of the game FC London made several substitutions to try to pick up the energy level and get a goal to get something from the game, but Oakville continued to look dangerous on the counter as the hosts committed players forward.
In the end Oakville dominated in statistical categories such as shots on target (8-2), corners (8-1), fouls (11-9) and yellow cards (5-1).
FC London will look to get back to winning ways and lock down one of the top playoff spots when they travel to McNaughton Turf to take on Vaughan Azzurri on August 26 (3 p.m.).
Oakville Blue Devils will look to continue to climb the standings when they host Sanjaxx Lions at Bronte on August 26 (4 p.m.).