Joel Harry, seen here scoring the tying goal in the Jackson Cup final last April, was Cowichan LMG’s game MVP in a 3-0 win over Comox last Saturday. (Citizen file)

Deep LMG team finds offence against Comox

Joel Harry named MVP in first start of season

Cowichan LMG made history on Saturday.

Always struggling to score during visits to the Comox Valley, the Vancouver Island Soccer League team set an all-time club record in a 3-0 win over Comox Valley United.

In their previous three trips to Comox, LMG’s results included two one-goal victories and a tie.

“This time, I was a little more comfortable than usual,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said.

Comox started out playing the defence-first style that they usually play against Cowichan, and although LMG had nearly a dozen corner kicks in the first half, they struggled to put the ball away.

“Comox definitely sat back and defended right from the beginning,” Martin said.

Cooper Barry finally broke the scoreless tie late in the first half with a header when the Comox goalie appeared to misjudge a cross.

Martin kept his team playing the same way in the second half, and they managed to earn a pair of penalty kicks that Paddy Nelson made good on.

“We did get enough pressure on them to get fouled twice,” the coach noted.

The two goals ended a three-game scoring drought for Nelson, who has 13 on the season and is once again atop the VISL charts, tied with former Cowichan striker Ryan Andre and one ahead of Nanaimo’s Daragh Fitzgerald.

Finally able to carry the roster he has waited for all season, Martin was thrilled with the squad he took to Comox, and made sure to use all the spares who made the trip.

“That’s the most players we’ve ever taken to Comox,” he said. “And probably the strongest team we’ve ever taken there.”

Making his first start of the season at centre back, Joel Harry earned game MVP honours, while Darian Achurch earned his fifth clean sheet of the year. That matches the total that Cowichan had over the entire 2016-17 season.

“We’ve definitely improved our defensive play,” Martin noted.

Cowichan remains in first place in the tight top division, four points ahead of Vic West, who leapfrogged former second-place holder Gorge last weekend. LMG will visit Lakehill at Braefoot Park this Friday.

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