Cowichan battles Bays United to scoreless tie in Div. 1 soccer

Cowichan LMG Pringle has yet to surrender a goal three games into the Div. 1 Island Soccer League season.

The first battle of the Div. 1 Island Soccer League heavyweights goes as a no-decision.

Both Cowichan LMG Pringle and Bays United are fine with that. The teams fought to a scoreless result Friday night (Sept. 20) at Sherman Road Park’s Bill Keserich Field.

“It was a hard-fought game without a doubt,’’ said Cowichan coach Glen Martin.

The rainy evening with wet grass was a great equalizer.

Cowichan had three glorious chances in the late stages.

“I thought we were going to pull it out, but we didn’t,’’ said Martin.

He was still happy with the point under the circumstances.

“The last few times we played them, they beat us,’’ Martin said of the defending Jackson Cup champs. “It would have been exciting to pull it out at the end.’’

Bays was playing without top scorers Jordie Hughes and Greg Fiddick, which limited its attack.

In the second half, “they kind of sat back and tried to slow the game down,’’ Martin said.

Joel Wilson made especially big save en route to his third straight shutout to start the season and continued a remarkable Cowichan streak. That’s nine consecutive league games dating back to last season that Cowichan has not surrendered a goal.

Cowichan has a bye this week and then plays on the road the following weekend against Prospect Lake.

Cowichan’s scoreless draw follows a 1-0 victory over Nanaimo Sept. 14 in Nanaimo.

Cowichan LMG Pringle is picking up right where it left off last season with flawless defence, as this game was the second straight shutout for Joel Wilson.

“In the last 20 league games, we’ve given up eight goals,’’ said Martin. “We’re confident. We’re obviously priding ourselves on that.’’

Dan Citra scored the lone goal to beat Nanaimo at the 65-minute mark on a cross from Steve Scott. Citra beat his defender to the ball and headed it in to the far post.

Scott, formerly of Sooke, was dangerous throughout just his second game since joining Cowichan.

“He’s only got the one (goal), but he’s created six really good chances for himself,’’ said Martin. “It’ll come.’’

The Cowichan-Nanaimo game went pretty much as expected, with two really strong teams battling it out.

“They had a good team,’’ said Martin. “They played well. We didn’t play as well as I thought we could. We did what we had to do. We gave up a lot of free kicks outside our box. They didn’t do too much with them.’’