Matt Arnett of the Cowichan 49ers gets his head on the ball during his team’s recent meeting with the Cowichan Steelheads. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen0

Matt Arnett of the Cowichan 49ers gets his head on the ball during his team’s recent meeting with the Cowichan Steelheads. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen0

Cowichan 49ers make improvements against UVic

Steelheads still looking for first goal of season

It’s still early in the season, but Cowichan’s masters men’s soccer teams are heading in different directions.

The Cowichan 49ers showed significant improvement in their second match of the season against the defending champion UVic Alumni, while the Cowichan Steelheads continue to look for their first win and first goal of the young campaign.

The 49ers lost their season-opener against UVic 3-0 on Oct. 3, but had a much closer result when the clubs squared off last Saturday. UVic won 2-1, but the Niners believed they could have done better.

“We went to Finlayson with a strong lineup and feel we deserved better than a loss,” player-manager Neall Rowlings said. “That’s soccer though. Sadly, we allowed an own goal in the early minutes and spent a lot of energy trying to earn it back.”

Cowichan’s lone goal came in the 59th minute when Ryan Fusick was hauled down in the box and Tyler Hughes converted the penalty kick in clinical fashion for his team-leading third goal of the season — one more than Rowlings. It took UVic just seven minutes to answer back, and the 49ers couldn’t bury the tying goal.

Jai Irvine nearly scored off a header, goalkeeper Darian Achurch was impressive on his birthday, and the midfield duo of Richard Lord and Brad Thorne were tireless.

“Our team is finally performing like a top team,” said Rowlings, whose team will be on the road again this weekend to face Gorge, who they defeated 2-0 at home on Oct. 10.

The Steelheads conceded a 4-0 loss to Gorge at Hampton Park on Saturday, and have yet to score through four games this season. They will look to change that this Saturday when they visit UVic.

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