Forge 4-3 Atletico Ottawa: Hammers Hold On In Thriller
If you are one for goals, then Forge and Atletico Ottawa served you a treat in what was the second league meeting between last year’s Canadian Premier League finalists, Forge came out on top by a 4-3 scoreline.
Forge’s most recent game was on Tuesday night in British Columbia. Playing their first ever away match against Vancouver FC, the Hammers went down 2-0. Going into Sunday’s game, coach Bobby Smyrniotis made four changes to his starting eleven. After being losers of their last three and four of five, Forge was desperate to return to winning ways.
As for Ottawa, they also played their most recent game against Vancouver FC. Defeating The Eagles 1-0, the 2022 CPL regular season winners came into the game with two wins from their last three outings. Ahead of the clash at Tim Hortons Field, coach Carlos Gonzalez made just two changes to his team.
It took just 22 seconds for the away side to put themselves ahead: Skipper Carl Howarth took a quick throw in, finding Gabriel Antinoro. The Brazilian-Canadian did well to cause confusion in the Forge defense, splitting past two players. Sticking out a foot, Antinoro beat Triston Henry from close range to put Ottawa in front.
The lead would only last for three minutes. Niba Macdonald played a complicated pass back to his keeper Nathan Ingham. The latter did not properly handle the pass, with the ball going under his foot and into his net.
The horror show continued for the guests as they let up another sloppy goal a few minutes later. Former Forge player Maxim Tissot tried to play the ball back to Ingham, but put too little on it. That allowed Woobens Pacius to get to the ball first, finding Terran Campbell. The latter made no mistake in firing the ball through Diego Espejo’s legs and into the goal.
After the second goal, Forge looked more confident, starting to create some more chances. Despite some of the shots going wayward, the hosts were in control of the game and looked the far more dangerous side.
At the half hour point, Forge made it three. Dominic Samuel made a marauding run forward, ultimately playing it to his captain Kyle Bekker. Taking a look up, Bekker found Borges with a smart pass. The winger took one touch to control the ball, then played it across to Campbell. It was a fairly straightforward finish for the striker, who nodded it past a helpless Ingham.
Ottawa was lucky not to concede again just a few minutes later. A long ball forward saw Ingham come out of his goal, clattering into Espejo. While the Atletico Ottawa center back was on the ground, play continued. Campbell’s initial shot was saved by Ingham, with Pacius’ follow-up being denied by Macdonald.
Campbell had another chance before the break off a throw in. Breaking free from his man, Campbell had a one-on-one with Ingham. In the end, the forward’s shot was thwarted by the Ottawa goalkeeper.
Forge started the second half on the front foot as well. A Borges corner found Campbell, whose effort was saved by Ingham.
Shortly past the hour mark, Ottawa got a goal back: a free kick about 25 yards out was taken by Tissot. Stepping up to take the kick, Tissot – who now had the armband – hit a perfect shot off the post and in. Henry had no chance, and suddenly Ottawa was back in the match.
A little less than 10 minutes later, the guests struck again. This time, a slick one-two allowed Zachary Bahous the space to play in fellow substitute Gianni Dos Santos. Despite initially losing the ball, the Cape Verde international had it back in his possession, hitting a low shot past Henry.
Forge was not to be denied though. With 10 minutes to go, they took the lead for good. Kwasi Poku was afforded enough space on the wing to pick out a cross. The ball in was perfect, finding Pacius. The attacker did not need a second invitation, heading the ball past Ingham.
Despite having ten minutes to equalize again, Ottawa failed to create anything noteworthy after that. The match ended 4-3 in Forge’s favour, breaking their three-game losing skid and five match winless run. They move up the table to second place following York United’s 2-1 reverse to Cavalry on Saturday. Next for the Hammers is a tricky trip to Wanderers Ground to face HFX Wanderers on Friday.
As for Ottawa, who remains second bottom after the defeat, they head to Starlight Stadium for their next game. Awaiting them there will be league leaders Pacific FC, who humiliated them 4-1 in their previous league meeting this season.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League