Last place Atlético Ottawa took playoff contenders York United to the brink Friday, forcing a 1-1 draw via an injury-time equalizer on a tense night at York Lions Stadium.
A 49th-minute penalty drawn by Ryan Telfer and converted by Malcolm Shaw put the Nine Stripes on the back foot before Jordan Wilson nodded home an equalizer at the start of injury time, rescuing a point in their hunt for a playoff spot.
Ottawa sported a rare-back three from the first to final whistle, taking to York’s predictable 4-2-3-1-or-4-3-3 shape.
It was York that found early success, particularly with service into targetman Julian Ulbricht in the air. The best chance of the early going came from Ottawa and former York winger Ryan Telfer, who collected an errant play from ‘keeper Nathan Ingham who parried it wide. York answered back on a vein of possession from Ottawa, leaving acres of space in behind for Álvaro Rivero and, eventually Chrisnovic N’sa who floated a ball just past Michael Petrasso’s boot.
York, on the whole, had the better of the chances through the scoreless first 45 minutes with several half chances hinting at a busy second frame.
That second half kicked off with some brilliance from Telfer, who drew one the prettiest penalty decision you’ll ever see, spinning and nearly evading two York defenders before being tripped up. Malcolm Shaw converted the chance, sneaking an attempt just past Ingham’s outstretched gloves, making it 1-0 for the visitors.
York, chasing a crucial result in the race for the playoffs, collectively leaned forward. Ottawa, meanwhile, further gelled into their back-five formation, set to sit in a four-five low block. The Nine Stripes leaned on nifty footwork, particularly through Diyaddine Abzi and the now left-sided Michael Petrasso.
Jimmy Brennan went on to add Max Ferrari and Lowell Wright to the attack, looking for extra pace and a spark in the attacking third – that paid off right away, with added movement looking to trounce Ottawa in a prodding, top-of-the-box pressure.
That goal eventually came through a litany of chances; several Petrasao’s back post attempt was tipped by Dylon Powley, a corner or two looked promising – so did Dom Zator’s looping header…. But it was Jordan Wilson who found the equalizer in the opening minutes of a seven-minute injury-time period, tapping home a second ball off a corner and sending a loud York Lions Stadium to its feet.
York was all-out in the final moments and came close to a winner but it was not meant to be as the team took a two-point lead over HFX Wanderers FC for the fourth and final playoff spot with just six matches to go.
49′ — Malcolm Shaw (Atlético Ottawa)
90′ – Jordan Wilson (York United)
24′ — Yellow: Ben McKendry (Atlético Ottawa)
25′ — Yellow: Cedric Toussaint (York United)
51′ — Yellow: Zachary Verhoven (Atlético Ottawa)
62′ — Yellow: Sebastián Gutiérrez (York United)
86′ — Yellow: Lowell Wright (York United)
90+2′ — Yellow: Diyaeddine Abzi (York United)
90+2′ — Yellow: Vashon Neufville (Atlético Ottawa)
90+6′ — Yellow: Rafael Nunez (Atlético Ottawa)
90+7′ — Yellow: Alberto Soto (Atlético Ottawa)
90+7′ — Yellow: Dylon Powley (Atlético Ottawa)