Sticking to their game plan, Cowichan LMG continued their strong play of late with a 4-0 win over Saanich Fusion at John Williams Turf on Friday night.
“The whole thing just kind of went the way we talked about,” head coach Glen Martin said. “It was a good, solid team win. Everything worked out the way we hoped it would.”
Saanich had only scored four goals in their eight Vancouver Island Soccer League games prior to last Friday, so Martin expected them to sit back and defend rather than pushing to score, which is exactly what they did.
Cowichan responded by pushing to score the first goal, which they did at the 12-minute mark when Cooper Barry headed in his fourth goal of the season off a corner kick by Tyler Hughes. That was all the offence of the first half as Cowichan went to the break with a 1-0 lead.
“We dominated the first half, but Saanich worked hard,” Martin said. “They had a game plan. They brought 17 guys, but it’s hard to defend for 90 minutes against a good team.”
Cowichan stuck with their strategy in the second half, and continued to dominate the game. Craig Gorman slotted his fifth of the season on a chip shot off a pass from Kevan Brown at 53 minutes, Paddy Nelson buried his Div. 1-leading 11th of the campaign at 73 minutes, and Barry added his second of the game at 84 minutes. That was Barry’s fifth of the season, and the first one scored with his feet after four headers.
Cowichan’s big three of Nelson, Barry and Gorman have combined for 21 of the team’s 26 goals so far this season — 81 per cent of the total offence, as Martin pointed out.
Scott Brown earned the shutout in goal, the first clean sheet for Cowichan this season.
“That was our goal before the game,” Martin said.
With 18 points, Cowichan is still in fourth place in Div. 1, trailing Bays United (21 points), Vic West (20), and Gorge (19). All the other teams have played nine games, while Cowichan has played eight.
“We haven’t passed anybody yet,” Martin acknowledged. “We have a game in hand, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to win it.”
Cowichan will get a chance to move past Gorge this Friday when the teams meet at Hampton Park. Gorge beat Cowichan 2-1 in the last meeting between the teams, the Sept. 16 season opener.
“They beat us in the first game this year,” Martin said. “It’s time for payback. It’s a really big game. It will go a long way toward winning the league.”