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Forward Madison Clinches Playoff Berth

The first year side earned a spot in the playoffs with a 1-0 win over Lansing Ignite.

Captain Conor Tobin helped lead Forward Madison to the playoffs with a 1-0 win over Lansing.
Justin Nuoffer

The Flamingos made history.

A goal by Wisconsin-native JC Banks gave Forward Madison the 1-0 win it needed against the Lansing Ignite to clinch a playoff berth in its inaugural season.

Defender Carter Manley sent a looping cross into the box in the 43rd minute that ended up at the feet of forward Don Smart on the back post. Smart took a few touches before cutting the ball back into the path of Banks, who buried the ball with his left foot.

Forward took the 1-0 lead into halftime and came out the better team. Despite Lansing holding 68 percent possesion, it struggled to muster much offense, and Forward fed off the counter.

That counter attack caused another big moment for Forward as JC Banks earned a penalty in the 59th minute after being clipped by defender Brandon Fricke. Don Smart stepped up to take the penalty, but his shot was met by goalkeeper Steven Cleveland to prevent Forward from having a two-goal cushion.

As expected in a crucial playoff deciding matchup — Lansing could have earned a home playoff game with a win — the game was chippy and nine total yellow cards were given out during the contest.

Despite dominating possession, it took Lansing until the 85th minute to get their first shot on target, which was easily saved by Forward keeper Ryan Coulter.

When the full time whistle blew, Forward players rushed over to the visiting Flock fans to celebrate the win and playoff berth. Next week, Forward Madison will turn their focus to their first ever playoff game against North Texas SC.