For the second game in a row, Cowichan LMG ran into a team that was desperate for a win, and for the second game in a row, Cowichan ended up on the wrong side of the score.
Four days after a disappointing loss at home against Bays United, Cowichan was edged 3-2 on the road against Vic West last Saturday. Fortunately, Cowichan wrapped up first place in the league weeks ago.
Head coach Glen Martin didn’t like the result against Vic West, but by and large, he couldn’t fault his team’s performance.
“It was a better effort than the game against Bays,” he said. “Our goalie made a couple bad decisions and it cost us.”
Playing their last game of Vancouver Island Soccer League play, Vic West needed to win in order to move into the top three and qualify for provincials. Cowichan got on the scoreboard first, however, when Vic West scored an own goal.
“It might have been going in anyway, but it hit a guy’s foot and went in,” Martin explained.
Bays scored five minutes later, and it was 1-1 late in the first half. Bays scored again in the 44th minute, but the Cowichan players weren’t dismayed.
“You could tell we were back playing our old style,” Martin said. “But [Vic West] was a strong team that had to win.”
Paddy Nelson tied the game in the 71st minute, potting his league-leading 23rd goal of the year. That’s six more than the next guy, Jon Shah of Gorge, and doesn’t even account for Nelson’s seven game-winners and the fact that Nelson plays for the league champions and Jackson Cup finalists. That wasn’t enough, however, for him to earn a nomination for league MVP, although Shah did make the final three.
With the score tied 2-2, Cowichan was pushing hard to win, but after Vic West managed to clear the ball, centre back Kevan Brown lost a battle for the ball, goalkeeper Scott Brown came out to challenge, and the Vic West player chipped the ball over his head and into the net. That goal stood up as the winner.
“Our effort was good,” Martin said. “We played well enough to get a result, but it didn’t work out.”
After wrapping up league play with a home match against Comox on Tuesday, Cowichan will prepare for the Jackson Cup final at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park on Sunday.