Forge wins 2nd ‘905 Derby’ of CPL season over York9


Rodrigo Gattas, middle, in action for York9 FC vs. Forge FC on Saturday. (CPL photo)

• Forge FC 2 (Nanco 70’; Borges 78’), York9 FC 0
• Forge comes out on winning end of “905 Derby”
• 75-minute delay for lightning mars match

North York, ONTARIO – York9 FC will have to wait a little bit longer for their first win in the Canadian Premier League.

Tristan Borges and second-half substitute Christopher Nanco scored to give Forge FC a 2-0 win over York on Saturday in the latest edition of the “905 Derby” at York Lions Stadium on the campus of York University.

The game was halted in the 61st minute with the game tied 0-0, and was delayed for about 75 minutes due to lightning in the area around the stadium. York coach Jim Brennan argued the match being stopped was the turning point.

“Before that delay, we had them on the ropes and had plenty of chances. … We felt it was coming, but that delay took the wind out of our sails,” Brennan offered.

“We’re a bit frustrated the way it came about. We felt we were the better team today.”

Forge assistant coach Peter Reynders saw it differently, saying, “For me, the best team won today.”

Last-place York (0-2-2) is now winless to start the CPL season, and is the only club in the seven-team league yet to record a win. Hamilton-based Forge (3-2-1) remains second place in the standings. Borges leads the league in scoring with three goals.

Despite being winless through its first four contests, Brennan isn’t worried, and argues that his team is better than its record indicates.

“For me, the boys have done a great job… This league is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We have to make sure to keep progressing and to do things right. If I look where we were in the first game [and compare it] to now, I think we’re improving as a team, and starting to get our identity of who we are. I’m not worried with the guys we have in the dressing-room. We’ll be fine in the end,” Brennan stated

These teams squared off in the inaugural game of the CPL campaign, battling to a 1-1 draw on April 27 at Tim Hortons Field. They’ll meet three more times this season, with the next encounter scheduled for Aug. 2 in Hamilton.

Saturday marked York’s home opener in CPL play, but not its first home game. After starting the CPL season with four road matches, the club hosted the second leg of its Canadian Championship first-round series earlier this week when it earned a 1-0 win over semi-pro club A.S. Blainville of Quebec’s Premier League.

The first half was an eventful and open-ended affair, with both teams carving out scoring opportunities, and Forge’s Kyle Bekker distinguishing himself with his cultured play in pulling the creative strings in midfield.

Borges had a glorious opportunity to give Forge the early lead after being played in on goal by Bekker. York goalkeeper Nathan Ingham had other ideas, and came up with a big save to deny Borges from in close. Later in the half, Bekker found Emery Welshman inside the box, but the Forge forward couldn’t finish off the chance.

York managed to keep Forge on its toes on the counter-attack, and nearly took the lead midway through the half. Chilean forward Rodrigo Gattas found space down the left flank and unleashed a powerful shot that forced an athletic, diving save from Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry.

The heavens opened up and the sheeting rain led to wet and slippery pitch conditions in the second half. The referee halted the game in the 61st minute, and all the players headed back to the locker-room, while fans were ordered to evacuate the stadium due to lightning in the area. The game restarted after a delay that lasted over an hour, with roughly 100 fans weathering the storm to catch the final half hour of action.

The instructions from Reynders, who was filling in for suspended head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, to his players after the delay was simple.

“The message was to go out and finish the game, and enjoy it,” Reynders said.

York pressed the issue once play resumed, with Ryan Telfer forcing Henry to make a fine save.

The home side was made to pay for wasting that chance, as Nanco beat Ingham from close range off a setup from Bekker to give the visitors the lead. Borges padded the lead eight minutes later with a brilliantly taken shot off a free kick.

“The first goal was a fantastic counter-attack. Three or four touches and the ball was in the net,” Reynders said.

NOTES: Forge FC returns to action next Wednesday when it hosts FC Edmonton. York9 FC visits HFX Wanderers FC on the same day… York9 was the last team to play its home opener in the CPL…

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