Cowichan LMG earns a win with skill, but can still play better

After a seven-goal outburst in their Vancouver Island Soccer League season-opener a week earlier, a 3-0 win over Comox Valley United in their first home game of the year was almost a letdown for Cowichan LMG last Saturday.

"I was a little disappointed we only got three goals, especially when you look at all the opportunities we created," head coach Glen Martin said.

After converting on seven of their 12 scoring chances in the season-opener against Westcastle, Cowichan made good on three of about 10 chances against Comox. Brad Thorne, Paddy Nelson and Steve Scott did the scoring, while Joel Wilson earned the shutout.

"The positive part is that we are creating chances," Martin admitted. "But we should have buried our chances and put that team away."

Martin has higher expectations for his team, which he felt coasted to victory.

"I think we can definitely play better; our work ethic was not up to our standard," he said. "Our skill level got us through that game. It wasn’t because we out-worked them. We were not even close to playing to our potential."

Martin did have praise for the play of goalscorers Scott and Thorne, as well as captain Jesse Winter and striker Dan Cato.

"They had their A-game going," he said. Newcomers to Div. 1, Comox also earned some respect from the Cowichan coach. Although Comox didn’t manage to score on Wilson, they did create some chances, and hit the crossbar on one occasion.

"They played hard until the end," Martin acknowledged. "They’ll do alright, especially in Comox."

Cowichan will be at home again this Friday to take on Lakehill at 7:30 p.m. at the Sherman Road pitch. Both teams are undefeated, and Martin is hoping for a big crowd.

"I’m looking forward to this game already," he said. "I think we can play a little harder this time."

Lakehill has just four returning players from last year, when the team placed sixth in Div. 1, and Martin isn’t familiar with the current roster.

"We don’t know who they are," he said. "We’re expecting a young, fast team."

Cowichan is expecting to have Cooper Barry and Tyler Hughes back in the lineup after they missed the last game.

In Div. 2, Cowichan United collected their first win of the season, beating the Gordon Head Blazers 4-2 on goals by Kodi Archbold, Kevin Smith, Conor Williams and Nick Crichton.

"We had a good week of training and worked on the system and how we want to play as a team," head coach Ryan Flynn said. "The guys played it very well; it was a complete turnaround from last week."

Each of the 15 players who made the trip to Victoria saw at least 35 minutes of playing time, and the bench players were key to the victory, Flynn said.

Crichton opened the scoring on Cowichan’s first possession of the game, just 50 seconds in, converting a cross from Smith, and Cowichan was relentless after that.

"We did not let up the whole game, always pressing, and after the first half the score was 3-1," Flynn said.

New dad Smith was named player of the game after scoring once and setting up two more goals in the first half and controlling the midfield.

United will host Vantreights this Saturday at Rotary Park, or, as some players have affectionately dubbed it, "The Cage," at 6 p.m. "We will have a couple minor adjustments to our team again in hopes to get our first home win of the season," Flynn said. "It’s a great new venue that allows fans to take in the game from a stadium atmosphere. We hope to see all the fans in support as it is much appreciated."