BARRIE - In their biggest game in franchise history on Saturday, the Simcoe County Rovers delivered their biggest moment in club history.
And it has sent them to the playoffs.
What was at stake was simple. Win in Hamilton, at Tim Hortons Field against Hamilton United, and the Rovers would be playoff bound.
But after a first half that saw them trailing 1-0, it was looking less and less likely until the Rovers responded with a 63rd-minute goal from Ethan Beckford.
That set the stage for what happened next.
Tied at 1-1 in the 90th minute, Beckford gained inside position on a Hamilton defender before finding the back of the net off his left foot to give the Rovers a 2-1 lead.
Beckford’s goal – his team-leading 15th of the season – stood up as the game-winner and sent the Rovers to the playoffs as a result, where they will face North Toronto Nitros in the first round on Wednesday.
The goal – and win – was by far the biggest moment for the Rovers in their inaugural year, who met the goal of having both their men’s and women’s teams make the playoffs.
That has been accomplished, but the men hope to continue their journey with a quarterfinals win at Downsview Park on Wednesday against North Toronto at 8 pm.
If they manage to do that, they will advance to the semifinals.
Regardless, it has been a successful first season for the Rovers, who has gotten terrific seasons from their core players, most notably Beckford, Shawn-Claud Lawson, and Ricky Gomes.
Beckford finished the season with 15 goals in 17 games – averaging a goal every 97 minutes, while Lawson found the back of the net six times and had a handful of crucial assists.
Gomes, in net, meanwhile, recorded five clean sheets in 15 games and had a staggering goals against average of 0.86.
There is no question that those three will have to lead the way once again for the Rovers in Toronto on Wednesday.
Stayed tuned to the Rovers on social media @RoversFC_L10 as the team continues to make history.