Sunday’s Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 match at Victoria’s Blanshard Field was a blast from the past for Cowichan LMG in more ways than one.
The match against Fernwood Town started at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, the same time that all Div. 1 matches started in the 1970s and 1980s, and took place on a grass pitch, Cowichan head coach Glen Martin noted, so he suited the team up in classic long-sleeved white jerseys — not quite 1970s-vintage, but probably from the mid-2000s or so.
The hero of the match also ended up being a throwback as well, as Craig Gorman had an excellent showing in his first appearance for Cowichan this season. Gorman was one of three players who moved from Cowichan to Bays United during the offseason, but he recently returned to the Cowichan fold, and saw his first taste of action against Fernwood, leading his new/old team to a 3-0 victory.
“He was our Man of the Match,” Martin said. “And it wasn’t because it was his first game back. He deserved it. He created a lot of chances.”
Gorman started as Cowichan’s lone striker up front, and opened the scoring at the 23-minute mark, taking the ball down the side of the field, beating a defender and putting the ball home with a low, hard shot.
Gorman also set up Kevan Brown for Cowichan’s second goal of the match in the 39th minute, and the teams went to the break with Cowichan up 2-0.
“It was a tough game for both teams,” Martin said. “It wasn’t great soccer, but I think we handled the conditions better than they did.”
Cowichan came out in the second half with a similar game plan to the first half, and dominated play, although Fernwood goalkeeper Jesse Rice held them off.
“Their goalie was their best player,” Martin said. “He kept them in the game when it was 2-0. He made some amazing saves.”
Steve Scott finally solved Rice again in the 57th minute on a free kick from 25 yards out into the top corner. The Fernwood goalie returned to his heroics after that.
“We had lots of chances to score after that, but their goalie played really well,” Martin said.
Cowichan keeper Darian Achurch finished with a clean sheet, although Fernwood didn’t give him a lot of work to do.
“It was a good, solid team effort for a win on the road,” Martin said. “It was a bumpy grass field, but we didn’t let it bother us.”
The win was Cowichan’s second in their last three matches, and the team improved its record to four wins, one loss and three draws. They sit fifth in Div. 1 although the top three teams all have two games in hand on both Cowichan and fourth-place Westcastle.
“We’re hanging in there,” Martin said.
The team’s next match is a big one as they host Gorge at the Sherman Road turf this Friday, 7:30 p.m. Gorge is currently eighth in Div. 1 with three wins and two draws in nine games.