When their opponents showed up with just 12 players for a masters men’s soccer game at the Sherman Road turf on Friday night, the Cowichan 49ers were expecting an easy win.
It didn’t work out that way.
Cowichan did come away with the victory, bit it took a heroic individual effort from Richard Lord to pull it off.
“Our coach [Kevin James] isn’t wrong; we have made some games hard on ourselves,” player-manager Neall Rowlings admitted. “But this time the opposition came to battle.”
The 49ers scored first, getting the opening goal from George (Hagi) Thomas on a hard-fought rebound.
“The opposition was all over George and he kept his composure,” Rowlings reported.
Vic West pulled even with a successful corner kick in the second half, after Cowichan was unable to score on “about 25” corners of their own. Pushing forward with urgency and a sense of panic, the 49ers were able to get the go-ahead goal from Lord, who sprinted from centre, taking on three defenders before burying the game-winner.
In addition to the goal-scorers, Mike Minckler and Kevin Smith — both new additions to the team this year — also had standout games.
The 49ers visit JDF Ghostfinger Alliance for the next game on Friday, Oct. 18, followed by the highly anticipated local derby against the Cowichan Steelheads on Oct. 26.
“The league has some parity this year,” Rowlings commented. “And the hard part of our season is coming up.”
The Steelheads won on the road this past weekend, defeating Lakehill Monkey Tree at Braefoot Park on Saturday thanks to goals by Marshall Wilkins and Luke Massey.
The Steelheads host JDF Ghostfinger Alliance on the Sherman Road turf this Saturday at 8 p.m.