Player-coach George White praised the Cowichan Steelheads’ effort last Saturday night in a 1-0 loss to an experienced Vantreights in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s masters B division.
"It was a hard-fought battle," White said. "Barring the penalty shot given against us in the first minute of play, it was like a boxing match that went 15 rounds – no decisive winner and likely a split decision." The Steelheads got off to a strong start against Vantreights, which sits fourth in the division.
"In the first half, we held our shape well and won many 50-50 balls," White said. "We are also becoming more composed with the ball and we were able to knock it around a bit and maintain some possession. Our attack came up the flanks and also built up through the middle and we were able to get several corners and some good scoring opportunities."
Cowichan faded a little down the stretch, but managed to keep pace with Vantreights.
"The second half was maybe not quite as disciplined, but exposed some weaknesses with fresh legs coming on, and it never really felt like we were in too much danger with our defence playing deep to eliminate foot races," White said. "All-in-all the type of game we hope for, where anyone can win, reminded me that we can compete with any team in this league and with a bit more polish we will get some results."
The match was the Steelheads’ last until mid-January, when league play will resume.
In Div. 2 of the VISL, Cowichan United lost 4-0 to Vantreights last Sunday.
"We came out flat and they punished us with four quick goals," manager Neall Rowlings said. "We rallied back and made a game out of it from there."
Goalkeeper Darian Achurch had a topcorner save to hold Vantreights to four goals.
"We have gone back to the basics this week and are preparing to get back on track with some positive results," Rowlings said.
Cowichan will play Sooke this Saturday night at 6 p.m. on the Ladysmith turf.