The Cowichan 49ers’ 2-0 win over Gorge on the road at Hampton Park on Saturday afternoon was a good result, but head coach Kevin James didn’t think his team played its best soccer of the season.
“In my opinion, it was a fairly sloppy game, for both teams,” he said. “We were fighting the ball a little bit.”
The undefeated 49ers sit atop the masters A standings, but Gorge has always been a threat for the Cowichan team, James pointed out.
“Going against Gorge on the road is never an easy task,” he said. “They’re a good team. You can definitely drop points in a game like that.”
Cowichan hit three crossbars in the match, while Gorge had shots carom off a crossbar and a post. It was not the 49ers’ most dominant outing of the season.
“There were lots of opportunities for both teams,” James said. “We were fortunate to capitalize and get some goals. We were definitely the better team, but that said, Gorge had opportunities to score.”
The 49ers went up 1-0 on a goal by Dave Tuckey, who tipped the ball in as it crossed in front of the net. Gorge didn’t have a goalkeeper, instead using a player-coach, who isn’t usually a goalie, in the position. For the most part, his unorthodox style worked.
“He made a couple of saves that would have gone in on a real goalie,” James said.
Things followed a similar pattern in the second half.
“It was one of those games where we didn’t seem to string three or four passes together,” the coach observed.
The 49ers got lucky when a Gorge defender knocked down a cross with his hand, and Stu Barker scored on the ensuing penalty shot.
“After that, the wind was out of their sails,” James recalled. “We went on cruise control.”
Cowichan keeper Rob McIntyre made a couple of big saves, including a particularly timely one where he stood his ground and stopped a breakaway.
“At that time of the game, a goal could have changed the game for sure,” James said.
McIntyre added another big stop late in the first half.
“Robby had a good game for us,” James said. “He didn’t make a lot of saves, but he made timely saves.”
The 49ers have 11 wins in 11 games, but they aren’t focused on remaining unbeaten as much as they are just trying to keep ahead of UVic Alumni, who are breathing down their necks.
“UVic is only three points behind us, so we have to win games,” James said. “We’re wanting to win games to stay in first place. We’re not worried about winning games to have a perfect record. If we have a perfect record, it means we’re getting all our points because we need all our points.”
The 49ers will play their last game before Christmas break on Saturday evening when they visit SFFC Forest at Tyndall Turf.
“Hopefully we can finish off the first part of the season with another win,” James said. “That would be nice.”
In the masters B division, the Cowichan Steelheads picked up a 1-0 win over Fernwood Dragons at Blanshard on Sunday afternoon. The Steelheads now have five wins, two draws and four losses, and will visit Lakehill Monkey Tree at Braefoot Park this coming Saturday.