Cowichan Red Arrow battled hard to tie their Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 3A match at home against the Juan de Fuca Pilgrims last Saturday, but gave up a late goal and had to settle for a 5-4 defeat.
Jonas Golf-Myers put Red Arrow ahead in the first 10 minutes, and the team had two chances to go up 2-0, but missed both one-on-one opportunities against the JDF keeper.
Midway through the first half, the pace started to catch up to the Cowichan players.
“At about the 20-minute mark, our lack of fitness started to show and we lost four players to fatigue,” Cowichan interim coach Levi Delahunt said. “Juan de Fuca pounced and scored three goals within 10 minutes to close out the half.”
JDF pressed early in the second half and scored again to go up 4-1, but Braedan Nash, the 16-year-old keeper called up from Cowichan’s U21 team, made several spectacular saves to keep the game within reach. Red Arrow got goals from Kevin Smith and Ryan Sampson to narrow the gap.
With less than 10 minutes left, Cowichan increased the pressure. Everyone on the pitch stopped to watch when Derek Knight collided with a JDF defender, but the ball popped over to an alert Jed August, who one-timed a shot into the bottom corner to make it 4-4.
In the dying minutes, JDF’s centre midfielder missed on a cross, but the ball still found its way in for the decisive goal.
“A hard loss to take, but there were many positives from the team,” Delahunt said. “Our offence is clicking right now we just need to make some stops. With 23 players available almost every game, we have a lot of competition in-house and hopefully we will continue to get better.”
Red Arrow will visit the Vic West Beavers this Saturday. The team won 7-1 in their McGavin Cup tournament opener, and will face U21 Cowichan United at the Sherman Road turf on Monday at 8 p.m.