HIGHLIGHTS: Forge retains Fall top spot with slim 905 Derby win

A controversial penalty call and some late-match dramatics were all that separated Sunday’s 905 Derby in Hamilton, with Forge FC walking away with a 1-0 win over York9 FC.

Tristan Borges’ league-leading 12th goal from the penalty spot ensured Forge’s 14th consecutive match without a loss and a return to the top of the Fall standings following Cavalry FC’s win on Saturday.

York9 enjoyed the early run of play, earning chances from close range via Simon Adjei and Ryan Telfer. Fullbacks Morey Doner and Diyaeddine Abzi provided influential support runs, further pushing Forge backwards. A smart one-two put Joe Di Chiara in on goal, but the Y9 midfielder was smothered as part of a non-call from referee Fabrizio Stasolla – the last key chance of the first half.

Forge came up flying in the second frame. Pinning the Nine Stripes back, the Hamiltonians looked back in control. Borges came close in the 63rd minute when a curling attempt to the left of the six-yard box sailed wide.

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Controversy arose in the 69th minute when a Borges header struck the back of Abzi’s arm in the box, resulting in a Forge penalty call. Protests ensued before Borges converted from the spot for his league-leading 12th goal on the season.

From there, York9 were unable to recover – although they were given a chance. Rodrigo Gattas was hauled down in the box late in injury time, leading to another controversial penalty and York9 a potential lifeline.

Stepping up, Gattas dramatically sent his penalty wide with the last kick of the match, handing Forge the 905 Derby season series with a 3-0-1 head-to-head record.

York9’s next contest will be the reverse of this fixture, as they meet Forge at York Lions Stadium next Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer). Forge, however, has a midweek match in between, as they head out to Alberta for a Finals preview with Cavalry FC on Wednesday (9:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer).

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Box Score

71′ – Tristan Borges (Forge FC)

68′ Yellow – Joseph Di Chiara (York9 FC)
74′ Yellow – Justin Springer (York9 FC)
90+4′ Yellow – Marcel Zajac (Forge FC)

Three Key Performers

Morey Doner (York9 FC)

The Nine Stripes’ right-back was positive all afternoon, especially in the first half. He caused massive problems for Forge’s left side with pace and tricky runs on the flank, setting up Simon Adjei for the best chance either team had in the first frame. Doner’s movement off the ball was useful in stretching out Forge’s defence; York9 just couldn’t find that final ball.

Tristan Borges (Forge FC)

As usual, Borges caught the eye whenever the ball came near him. He found his way in behind York9’s defence on a handful of occasions, called offside a couple of times for moving a second too early. His penalty was well-placed, beating Nathan Ingham despite the goalkeeper’s correct guess. Playing a wide role, Borges was the most creative player on the pitch for Forge.

Bertrand Owundi (Forge FC)

For all their strong build-up play, York9 couldn’t quite carve out any space for themselves in the Forge box. That’s primarily down to the strength of the home side’s backline, especially Owundi and his CB partner David Edgar. The Cameroonian led his side in touches and won three-quarters of his duels, with seven clearances and three interceptions.