Cowichan’s Jesse Winter marvels at a save by the Coastal FC goalkeeper. (Don Bodger/Black Press)

Cowichan’s Jesse Winter marvels at a save by the Coastal FC goalkeeper. (Don Bodger/Black Press)

Cowichan LMG on to provincial semifinals

Cowichan beats Coastal FC 3-1 to advance

A victory on Sunday ensured that Cowichan LMG can do no worse than match their best-ever result in the men’s provincial championships.

Cowichan defeated Surrey’s Coastal FC 3-1 in the provincial quarter-final match at the Sherman Road turf on Sunday to qualify for the semis, the fourth such appearance for the team in the last seven years.

Of course, Cowichan head coach Glen Martin won’t be satisfied by just matching his team’s previous best result.

“You can’t win this thing until you get to the final,” he commented. “You’ve got to get there first.”

Martin didn’t know what to expect from Coastal FC on Sunday, but his game plan worked regardless and Cowichan took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a hard shot by sniper Craig Gorman. Midway through the match, Martin was feeling pretty good about things.

“We scored the first goal,” he said. “It was a good start. We felt good about what we were doing.”

The one-goal lead held until just past the midway point of the second half, when Steve Scott was pulled down inside the box and Gorman made good on the penalty kick.

Cowichan was playing well, Martin assessed, and should have been happy with the 2-0 advantage, but started pushing a little too much for the third goal. That led to opportunities for Coastal, who finally capitalized on one.

“We got greedy,” Martin said. “We were pushing for the third goal, and we didn’t need to do that.”

That was the closest Coastal would get, as Jesse Winters managed to restore Cowichan’s two-goal lead on a header off a cross by Keevan Webb.

Winters’ goal, combined with his solid defensive play throughout the game, earned him Man of the Match honours.

“Everybody played well,” Martin said. “But he really stood out.”

This coming Sunday, Cowichan LMG will play in their fourth provincial semifinal in seven years, although the team has never been to the final. The closest they’ve come is losing the semi on penalty shots.

The opponent this time will be Langley’s Central City Breakers FC, the No. 2 team out of the Vancouver Metro Soccer League Premier League. CCB had 13 wins, three draws and five losses this season, outscoring opponents 55-25. They defeated Ladysmith’s Mid-Isle Mariners 3-0 in the first round and the Port Moody Gunners 3-2 in the quarter-finals.

As was the case last weekend, Martin doesn’t know what to expect from CCB. But that’s not a bad thing.

“I like it,” he said. “Guys don’t over-think it. They just go out there and play.”

Cowichan is going to stick with the noon time slot on Sunday, the one that led to the desired results this past weekend.

“It worked out for us,” Martin explained. “We’ll do it again. It’s not easy for the Vancouver teams coming over here. It’s to our advantage more than disadvantage.”

Martin is looking for a big crowd at the Sherman Road turf on Sunday, recalling the biggest crowd to ever watch a Cowichan home game, in the 2013 provincial semifinal, which his team lost to West Van FC at McAdam Park.

“Hopefully the fans will come out,” he said.