If there’s a nice way to beat a shorthanded soccer team by 10 goals, the Craig Street 49ers did it last Saturday.
Needing every goal they can score in an unbelievably tight race in the standings, the Cowichan Masters A team was hosting a Masters B Lakehill Monkey Tree squad with only nine players on hand, including their goalie. Lakehill had already lost 9-0 to UVic Alumni and 7-0 to Gorge Backfit, Cowichan’s rivals in the A-division standings, so the 49ers had to at least beat those numbers.
“I spoke with their coach before kickoff and let him know the situation we were in and that there was no disrespect meant,” Cowichan head coach Kevin James said. “We tried to do it in the classiest way possible.”
The 49ers got the 10 goals they hoped for, then backed off. The Niners know exactly how important every goal is, having lost the league title last season by a three-goal margin.
“It was a technical thing,” James explained. “We needed to get at least 10. We needed that one to stay on pace with UVic and Gorge.”
Lakehill knew they would be shorthanded, but already had one forfeit on the books, and the Vancouver Island Soccer League doesn’t allow teams to forfeit two games in one season.
“They’re struggling to get players, but we had only played twice in five weeks,” James noted. “The league wanted it played, and so did we. You can’t change games that late.”
The 49ers got two goals from Stu Barker and one each from George Thomas, Bradley Peterson, Brad Thorne, Nick Zuback, Todd Vass, Darcy Kulai, Richard Lord and Daryl Rodgers. Rob McIntyre earned the shutout in his return to the Cowichan crease.
The 49ers have a busy weekend coming up as they visit Peninsula’s B team on Friday and Gorge’s A team on Sunday for a makeup game. Cowichan and Gorge are tied atop the A-division standings with 10-1 records and identical goal differentials. The Niners’ only loss this season came against Gorge, and they know they can’t afford to have the slow start that has been plaguing them in recent games, including the blowout against Lakehill.
“That’s a big, big one,” James said. “It will definitely help determine a few things. Getting a result against them is crucial.”
Cowichan’s Masters B team, the Steelheads, picked up their second win of the season last Saturday as they downed the Cordova Bay Bobcats 3-0. Steven Richards, Paul Mycroft and Curtis Flynn did the scoring, while Edrissa Gassama earned the shutout and Marshall Wilkins was named Cowichan’s Game MVP.