The 49ers Stu Barker gets a head on it. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Niners limp to win No. 12, relish soccer’s winter break

Despite their perfect record in the masters A division, the Cowichan Craig Street 49ers still felt themselves limping toward the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s Christmas break.

The 49ers held things together just long enough to beat SFFC Forest 3-0 at Tyndall Park on Saturday. The Cowichan team started the game with just two subs, both walking wounded nursing minor injuries, and finished with 10 healthy players on the pitch and an 11th who managed to stay on his feet for the last 25 minutes.

“Overall, for being so shorthanded, I thought we did well,” Cowichan coach Kevin James said. “We had a few missed opportunities. They didn’t create too much defensively for us to be worried about. I thought the guys played well.”

Chad Bastian needed just two minutes to score the goal that stood up as the game-winner. George Thomas added some insurance on a penalty kick at 28 minutes, and Stu Barker rounded out the scoring at 67 minutes.

“A win’s a win,” James said. “Whether it’s by five goals or one goal, it’s three points.”

The 49ers will lick wounds over winter break and hope to return to form when the season resumes in 2019.

“We’re happy to have this break, for sure,” James said.

The 49ers’ next game on Friday, Jan. 18 is a huge one as they play host to UVic Alumni at Sherman Road turf with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Cowichan may have a perfect record, but UVic has lost only once this season, and only three points separate the teams in the standings.

“They know what’s on the line here,” James said of UVic. “If they lose, it will be tough to catch us. It will be a battle for sure.”

In the masters B division, the Cowichan Steelheads lost 2-0 to the Fernwood Dragons at Victoria’s Central Park on Saturday. The Steelheads still have one more game left in 2018 as they visit Lakehill at Braefoot Park on Saturday.

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