Matchday 2 of the League1 Ontario play-offs saw Unionville-Milliken SC host Sigma FC, as the bottom two teams in Group B battled for survival in the play-off race. Sigma had lost their opening game 3-1 to Woodbridge Strikers, whereas UMSC fell 2-0 to Oakville Blue Devils; the fixture was effectively a must-win for both teams.
A late charge from Unionville, which included a goal from substitute Bojan Zoranovic (86'), was not enough to cancel out Kadell Thomas' two goals (64', 83') for Sigma, and signalled the end of the hosts' playoff run. The other two teams in Group B drew 2-2 earlier that evening, meaning that Sigma FC can still top the group at the end of Matchday 3.
Sigma FC started the game more strongly, pressing Unionville high up the field and earning a few shots on goal. Unionville grew into the game after the opening ten minutes and had a decent chance from a set piece with Mark Jankovic.
The hosts were unlucky not to take the lead after twenty minutes, as Hassan Abdulmumini's goalbound header was redirected by an incredible diving save from Sigma keeper Triston Henry.
Sigma regained their momentum in the latter stages of the first half, and came close to opening the scoring on more than one occasion. However, the hosts managed to defend diligently and keep the game scoreless at the break.
News of the other Group B fixture had come through by the end of half-time, and both teams knew that a defeat would be terminal for the losing side.
Unionville created their best chance of the game in the 58th minute. Tre Crosby's corner kick found its way to Jankovic at the back post, who set up Richard West with a header. West's shot ricocheted off the post from close range and was cleared by the Sigma defenders.
Moments later, Sigma got their breakthrough. Shifting the ball from the right wing to the left, the visitors found Kadell Thomas (64') in space to give them the lead. Unionville played with urgency after conceding and had a golden opportunity to score in the 74th minute.
Kadell Thomas (Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)
Kiril Dimitrov broke through the midfield and found Alex Lewis with space in the box, but the substitute could not get the ball under control. Despite Unionville's best efforts, Kadell Thomas scored the game's second goal in the 83rd minute.
At this stage, Unionville needed two unanswered goals and pushed more players forward to salvage a result. Sigma missed an opportunity to go 3-0 up, and conceded seconds later when Bojan Zoranovic (86') pulled one back for the hosts.
Nevertheless, Sigma FC managed to keep their composure and seal the 2-1 victory without any late drama.
With the result, Unionville-Milliken SC are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but will play the Woodbridge Strikers at Vaughan Grove Turf on Oct. 14 (5:00 p.m.) next in Group B.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for Unionville-Milliken SC on their team page.
As for Sigma FC, they will host the reigning champions Oakville Blue Devils at Hershey Sportzone Field House Oct. 14 (3:00 p.m) to determine who will advance to the semi-finals.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for Sigma FC on their team page.