Paddy Nelson’s goal at the 30-minute mark gave Cowichan LMG a 1-0 win over Gorge in a hard-fought Vancouver Island Soccer League battle at the Ladysmith turf last Friday.
Nelson converted a cross from Luca Klotz, a U16 player originally from Cowichan and now playing for Victoria’s HPL team.
Cowichan had chances to score more goals, including a glorious opportunity for Nelson late in the first half when he dinged the crossbar. With the one exception, Gorge’s keeper was up for every challenge.
“Only one goal, but we had some chances, no doubt,” head coach Glen Martin noted. “We played good. We didn’t get that second goal, which would have been huge to take the pressure off.”
Coming as some relief to Martin, who has been carrying a small roster this year, Dan Cato made his season debut, starting in the second half and creating some scoring chances in his first game since Cowichan was eliminated from the provincial tournament last May.
Gorge had one chance to score, but goalie Sam Hutchison deflected it off his own post and out. Defensively, Cowichan has been nearly perfect this season, giving up just one goal through five games. That has translated to a record of four wins, no losses and one tie, putting the team in first place in Div. 1, one point ahead of second-place Bays and just three up on Nanaimo and Saanich Fusion, who are tied for fourth place.
Less than a third of the way through the season, the division has separated into a top five and bottom five already. Cowichan’s next game will be another one of those top-five teams as they host Nanaimo at the Ladysmith turf this Friday at 7 p.m.
“They’re always tough games, low scoring, very even,” Martin said of his team’s games against Nanaimo.
The teams played to a 1-1 tie and 1-0 Cowichan victory last year. But Martin is aware that things don’t always play out as expected.
“As soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, you don’t,” he said.