Treyvon McInnis (90'+1', 90'+3') propelled Darby FC to victory in the dying minutes of the game and post-season, completing the 2-1 comeback over Alliance United FC at Centennial College, Toronto, on Saturday afternoon.
Alliance had grabbed the lead earlier after Farrell Francis (70') headed in the opening goal off a Bogdan Poliakhov corner kick. Alliance held on until the 90th minute when the fourth official signalled for four minutes of added time.
Darby got on the front foot in the last few minutes and stepped on the gas, throwing everyone forward toward the Alliance goal. The home team was unable to clear the ball from danger, and super-substitute McInnis made them pay as his strike rippled the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.
Two minutes later, Darby set up for a crucial corner kick. A loud shout of encouragement and adrenaline came from the Darby side: "Let's get this comeback!"
McInnis headed the corner kick toward goal, and the ball found its way past Tristan Martino for the brace and the win.
The end result is familiar to both Darby and Alliance. The teams had faced each other three times in 2018. Their L1 Cup match ended in a Darby win on penalty kicks, and their regular-season match also finished 1-0 after McInnis scored a 91st minute winner at the Whitby Soccer Centre.
Alliance had to battle tough spells since the opening minute of the match. The cold wind led to sloppy play from both sides, and Devon Bowyer went down with an injury in the 28th minute, forcing Alliance to make an early substitution while already having a short bench.
Another Alliance player needed treatment in the 80th minute as Oswald Adu cramped late in the match. Having used all of their available subs, Alliance were left with only 10 players on the field until Adu returned to the game eight minutes later.
While Darby FC (1-1-1) get their first win of the League1 Ontario playoffs, they were already eliminated from Championship Final contention. They bounced back from their opening loss to Vaughan Azzurri to finish second in their group with four points.
Alliance United FC (1-2-0) end their playoff run in third place of Group A. Their three points came from a lone upset win over FC London.
But the two teams brand new to the men's League1 Ontario division put on a show for the spectators with promise of intense battles between the rivals as they roll forward to next season with their heads held high.