Although they barely had enough players to form a team, Cowichan LMG still managed to turn the tables on Nanaimo in a rematch of last spring’s Jackson Cup final.
“We grinded out a victory with a small number of players,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin commented.
Cowichan travelled to Nanaimo for Saturday’s Vancouver Island Soccer League match with just one spare — U21 call-up Tyson Black. Seven minutes into the game, starter Anton Bucher was injured, and Black was forced into action. Fortunately, Cowichan was able to get through the rest of the game without a hitch, and finished with a 2-0 win.
Cowichan dominated in the early going.
“We played well,” Martin said. “We started well, and we were in their end most of the time.”
Paddy Nelson was stopped on a breakaway midway through the first half, the first of many scoring opportunities for the sniper.
“Paddy was relentless up front,” Martin said. “He was running around like a maniac.”
Not long after that, Cowichan goalie Darian Achurch made his first big save of the match. The teams went to the sidelines at halftime in a scoreless tie.
Cowichan continued to carry the play in the second half, and Nelson was stopped on another scoring chance. The Nanaimo goalie was finally beaten around 25 minutes into the second half when Craig Gorman’s corner kick sailed in. Nelson was stopped on his third breakaway opportunity, then finally scored when a miscue between the defence and the goalie led to a loose ball that he buried for his fifth of the year.
Jordan Korven, who started alongside Cooper Barry at centre back in his first game of the season, was named Man of the Match. Achurch earned his first clean slate of the Div. 1 season, the first time in four years that Cowichan has shut out Nanaimo on the road.
“Darian had another big game,” Martin said. “He went up there and got the job done. If he can make a couple of big saves every game, we’ll be alright with him in net.”
Cowichan will host Comox this Saturday at 6 p.m. The team has gone 2-0 so far this season with a skeleton crew, but Martin expects to have several players back in action this weekend.