Darby FC men's team guaranteed themselves a playoff spot while Sigma FC left a door open at the top of the table for FC London to pip them to first overall in the regular season after a 1-1 draw at the Whitby Soccer Center on Wednesday night.
It was a great game for the neutral, with both teams committed to the result and operating at top gear.
Darby needed one point to clinch playoff status while Sigma need three points to clinch first place in the league, and both sets of defensive lines were kept tight and disciplined.
In the 28th minute the first caution of the game was awarded to Darby's Moncrieffe following a tackle just inside his half. Moments later, in the 29th minute, another caution was awarded to Darby's Parolini for dissent.
Just before the half, Darby had a free kick right outside of Sigma’s 18-yard box. Moncrieffe gave a great low ball to Brooks (40'), who then tapped it lightly into the bottom right corner of the net. Darby's post-season dreams were taking shape.
The second half was very intense. Darby was desperately trying to keep Sigma out of their end and keep the lead intact. Sigma knowing they needed a win to finish first were beginning to show signs of tension. In the 50th minute, Darby got their third caution of the game as frustrations mounted.
Minutes before the game ended, Sigma finally found a breakthrough. Five Sigma players rushed the Darby net and with a set play were able to put it away with Giuliano Frano (88') getting the final touch.
Darby celebrated at the whistle having achieved the all-important playoff qualification while Sigma were disconsolate. Everything comes down to FC London's visit to Toronto Skillz on Sunday August 23 to determine if Sigma can hand onto first place in the regular season.
Darby FC will next play Masters FA Saints on September 22 (8 p.m.) at L'Amoreaux Stadium, Toronto.
Sigma finish the season on 37 points, currently top of the table with a record of 11-1-4.
Click here to see all stats, results and news from Sigma FC on their team page.