Glen Martin had more than one reason to be concerned as Cowichan LMG prepared to face Lakehill Maple Glass in Victoria last Friday.
For one thing, after the Christmas break and a few cancellations, it was the team’s first Vancouver Island Soccer League game in 48 days.
“I was a bit worried about being rusty, but we had two good training sessions in the week before that made a difference,” the coach said.
As well, the team was missing some key players, including league scoring leader Paddy Nelson, fellow starters Cooper Barry, Kevan Brown and Govinda Innes, as well as reserve Sam Beswick.
“I explained that it was a really good opportunity for the guys who don’t play much to show me what they can do, and they did,” Martin noted.
It turned out that Martin had little to worry about after all, as his team rolled to a 5-0 win.
“I was pretty happy,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised with the result we got. Considering all the things that could have gone wrong, we played well, we really did.”
After a fairly even start to the game, LMG scored their first goal 15 minutes in when Farley Cannon netted his third goal of the season on a cross from Filip Jaric, a signing from Vancouver Island University playing his first game with Cowichan. That was the only goal of the first half.
Martin made one change at the half, bringing in Dan Cato for Jaric, and his team hit the field for the second half flying. Cowichan was awarded a penalty shot in the 52nd minute when Andres Algarin was taken down in the box on a great scoring chance, and Craig Gorman converted for his seventh of the season. Two minutes later, Brad Archibald scored his first of the year on a header.
Cannon added his fourth of the year in the 65th minute, and Algarin was awarded for his excellent play when he slotted his first of the season in the 83rd minute.
“All his hard work paid off,” Martin said.
Several players stepped up to make sure the absent players weren’t missed too much, including Steve Scott and Jamie Taylor in the midfield, and Anton Bucher, in his first game at left back since transferring to Cowichan from Lakehill. Goalkeeper Scott Brown earned his third clean sheet in a row.
“I think the guys that had the opportunity to show what they can do really came out and did it,” Martin said.
First-place LMG now has 30 points in 12 games, while the next team, Bays United, has 29 points in 14 games.
Cowichan will play at home this Friday against Nanaimo at 7:30 p.m., in their first home game since Nov. 26.
“It would be nice to get the big crowd out again,” Martin said.