The season debut of veteran defender Tyler Hughes proved to be a huge factor in Cowichan LMG’s 4-0 victory over Vic West FC in Div. 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League last Saturday.
After a relatively balanced start to the game, Hughes’s experience helped Cowichan open the scoring when, after Dan Cato earned a free kick at the 30-minute mark, Hughes, instead of waiting and asking the ref to mark off 10 yards, simply put the ball down at his feet and fired it into the empty net, scoring a completely legal goal that caught Vic West completely off guard.
"They were upset, but couldn’t do anything about it," head coach Glen Martin recalled.
Hughes’s goal was the only one in the first half, although Cowichan was threatening more in the late stages.
"It was a fairly even first half overall, but we started taking it to them in the last 10 minutes of the half," Martin said.
Cooper Barry added to Cowichan’s lead at the 52-minute mark, set up by Brad Thorne, who came into the game at halftime when Martin moved Dan Citra to right back, taking starter Robbie Heggelund out. Thorne was one of four effective subs in the contest, as Colin Knight came in for Stu Barker, Connor Crichton came in for Steve Scott and A.J. Kambere came in for Cato.
As Cowichan continued to wear down Vic West, Paddy Nelson scored two more, at the 67-and 82-minute marks.
"We were going at them strong right until the end," Martin said. "It was a total team effort. We basically wore them out."
LMG is now 4-0, with the most goals-for and fewest goals-against in Div. 1, and has sole possession of first place. The squad will play host to bottom-dwelling Castaways at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Sherman Road, but Martin isn’t taking anything for granted.
"They’re always a hard game to play," he said. "They’re physical, defensive."