The two Cowichan-based Vancouver Island Soccer League masters teams battled hard during the 8 p.m. game at the Sherman Road turf on Saturday, with the key word being “battle”.
The visiting Cowichan 49ers ended up taking the contest by 1-0 score over the Cowichan Steelheads but the scoresheet did not tell the full story.
“The game was fun; cleaner than usual on both sides,” joked player-manager Neall Rowlings. Even so, one player on each side earned yellow cards for unsporting behaviour while Steelheads coach Billy Keserich was ejected.
Bright spots included the return of Dave Tuckey for the 49ers and former 49er Nick Zuback making his debut with the Steelheads.
The lone goal came at the 30-minute mark from the foot of the 49ers’s Neall Rowlings thanks to a breakaway pass from Adrian Achurch.
“He sent it in right between the two defenders and I snuck it in on the bottom right corner against Chris Muller,” Rowlings said. “This finally puts me at a tie with Tyler Hughes which I needed because he picks on me at work about it all day.”
Darian Achurch played a solid 90 minutes in goal for the team to net the shutout.
At the other end of the field Muller played equally well, making every big stop, save for the one.
“The Steelheads will have some hope and positivity moving into their next cohort,” Rowlings, who manages both the 49ers and the Steelheads, said.
As for the 49ers, they’ve got an uphill battle.
“We have almost an impossible path to catch UVic because we don’t play them until late January now,” Rowlings explained. “I don’t even think another team will score on them until then. And they sit on the top with an almost-perfect record of one goal against.”