Forge FC claimed the spoils in the first 905 Derby of 2023 on Friday night at York Lions Stadium, as Terran Campbell’s first-half blast was enough to win it 1-0 for the Hamilton-based side.
Before a ball was even kicked, York suffered a major blow as star attacker Mo Babouli pulled up with a hamstring injury in warmups, forcing Martin Nash to deploy Osaze De Rosario in the number 10 position. The club explained that the move was precautionary, with York set to play the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.
The match started brightly for the home side, with a few dangerous chances in the first 20 minutes — including one off a set-piece that drew a spectacular reflex save from Triston Henry — but it would be Forge who drew first blood. Woobens Pacius brought the ball down on the left flank and found Terran Campbell drifting toward the box in a broad patch of space.
Campbell, the CPL’s all-time leading goalscorer, fired a shot with his left foot from about 20 yards out to beat Niko Giantsopoulos and make it 1-0 for Forge in the 21st minute.
The Hamilton side had the upper hand the rest of the half with a few more golden chances, as Giantsopoulos came up with a spectacular save of his own to deny Kwai Poku in close.
Neither side could generate much in the way of top-quality scoring chances early in the second half, so York boss Nash went to his bench around the hour mark to look for a goal. He brought Markiyan Voytsekhovskyy into the match for Austin Ricci, while Tass Mourdoukoutas replaced Roger Thompson as the York captain continues to work up to full fitness.
York held onto the ball more in the second half, pushing forward in search of an equalizer; they pressed higher and higher up the pitch but struggled to get into the penalty area with Forge’s backline remaining stout. The match took on the kind of physical edge one might expect in a derby — four yellow cards in the second half were just a handful of the aggressive tackles flying either direction.
As the match ticked over into stoppage time, the sides came together in confrontation again after a rough challenge between Ashtone Morgan and Max Ferrari, and Morgan’s extra shove on the way up was enough to earn him the first red card of the 2023 CPL season.
The man advantage did not, however, allow York to find the equalizer they needed and Forge sealed the victory, claiming their second consecutive win and moving into first place.
21′ — Terran Campbell (Forge FC)
39′ — Yellow: Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
67′ — Yellow: Elijah Adekugbe (York United)
68′ — Yellow: Malik Owolabi-Belewu (Forge FC)
76′ — Yellow: Oussama Alou (York United)
80′ — Yellow: Kwasi Poku (Forge FC)
90+1 — Red: Ashtone Morgan (Forge FC)
90+4′ — Yellow: Khadim Kane (Forge FC)
90+7′ — Yellow: Aboubacar Sissoko (Forge FC)