Reflecting on his team’s 5-2 loss to Vic West last Friday, Cowichan LMG head coach Glen Martin’s hindsight was clear.
“The game was almost won or lost before it started,” he said.
Vic West, the first team Cowichan has played this year that is ahead of them in the Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 standings, showed up at Williams Turf with 22 players, three coaches and an entourage of about 30. Cowichan had two players on the bench.
“They came to our place ready to play,” Martin said. “They were prepared and motivated. You would have thought they were the home team.”
Martin didn’t feel that his team was any worse than Vic West, but the visiting team definitely outworked his.
“They scored a bunch of lucky goals,” he said. “But they earned their luck.”
The better-prepared Vic West scored the all-important opening goal within the first three minutes. Cowichan answered back shortly after as Paddy Nelson moved into a tie for top spot in the league with his seventh goal of the season. By halftime, however, it was 4-1. By that point, Martin wasn’t expecting to battle back and win.
“I told them we were playing for pride now,” he said.
Cowichan was the better team in the second half. Nelson got the ball to Craig Gorman, who scored to make it 4-2, and Martin started to think his team might be back in the game.
As Cowichan pressed to narrow the gap, Cooper Barry missed a header that would have gotten his team within a goal, and Vic West went right back down the field and scored on a free kick.
The defeat dropped LMG’s record to 4-2, although the team remains in fourth place in Div. 1. Martin wants to see a quick recovery from the loss.
“We need to turn things around quick,” he said. “We looked very average against Vic West. They weren’t that good, but they deserved the win. They scored more goals than we did.”
Cowichan will head to Oak Bay this Friday to visit first-place Bays United.