According to Cowichan LMG head coach Glen Martin, the key to success in Div. 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League is to score the first goal.
"If you score first, you’ve probably got a 95 per cent chance of not losing," Martin said. "I don’t care who you are."
After winning their first 10 games of the season, LMG has failed to score first in their last two contests, and both have ended in 2-2 ties – including last Saturday’s game against Lakehill.
After dominating the league in the first half of the season, Cowichan has slowed their pace early in the second half, but Martin isn’t concerned.
"With 18 games in six months, you’re going to have ups and downs," he said. "Teams are pumped up for us. The second time through the league is always harder, and we were unlucky."
Lakehill took advantage of inattentive play by Cowichan to score the first goal 10 minutes in, and it remained 1-0 for Lakehill into halftime. New addition Craig Gorman, who entered the game at halftime along with Cooper Barry, tied the score three minutes into the second half. Cowichan got a big boost from Gorman’s goal. "After that, we were relentless." Cowichan worked hard to get ahead, but were repeatedly denied, hitting crossbars and posts and having a goal called back. Finally, with about 10 minutes to go, the hard work paid off when Connor Crichton scored the go-ahead goal.
It looked like Cowichan would hang on for the victory, but early in extra time, a "ghost call" for a free kick gave Lakehill a chance to tie it, and they capitalized with a "one in 100" perfect shot.
With the tie, Cowichan remains undefeated, but the team did lose a little of its lead over second-place Saanich Fusion, who beat Castaways 7-0 last Friday. Cowichan is still eight points ahead of Saanich, with six games remaining in the season.
LMG will play host to third-place Vic West at Ladysmith this Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.