A game against a seemingly much weaker opponent could have been disastrous for Cowichan LMG Pringle.
Prospect Lake only had one shot on the Cowichan goal during a Div. 1 Island Soccer League encounter in Victoria Saturday, but it’s one that usually counts way more often than not.
With Cowichan leading 1-0, Prospect was awarded a mystifying penalty kick but goalkeeper Joel Wilson made the save to preserve the lead and his flawless goals against record. Cowichan went on to a 3-0 victory and Wilson posted his fourth consecutive shutout to start the season.
“The soccer gods came through,” said Cowichan coach Glen Martin after the penalty shot called by the referee had players on both sides shaking their heads. Cowichan players were shocked at an apparent foul by Jesse Winter in the box and Prospect team members couldn’t believe their good fortune.
But, instead of being a tie with Cowichan having difficulty finding the net, the momentum went back the other way and Steve Scott scored two late goals, including one on a nifty unselfish pass by Kevin Jones.
Dan Citra scored the other goal late in the first half with a header on a scramble.
“We came out playing good, dominating the play,” said Martin.
But Cowichan couldn’t convert anything despite nearly a dozen corner kicks until Citra’s marker in the 39th minute. “We were all over them,” said Martin.
Tyler Hughes arrived late from coaching youth soccer and went into the game as a second-half substitute. Cowichan kept pressing, but to no avail, and then players thought it might not be their day when the penalty shot was called.
But Cowichan took its third victory with one tie in four games for a first-place tie with Lakehill, with a game in hand.
“We had a good game,” said Martin. “It could have been not good if that penalty shot goes in.”
Cowichan battles arch-rival Saanich Fusion Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Ladysmith Turf as part of a doubleheader following Div. 2 Cowichan United action against Prospect Lake at 5:45.
The Fusion is coming off a 2-1 loss to Vic West and Bays United Liquor Plus also went down to defeat against Nanaimo so that leaves Cowichan in an ideal position to put some distance between itself and the other league powers.
“That’ll be a big test for us, for sure,” said Martin of the Fusion game. “We always have very tough, close games with them.”
United, meanwhile, ran its winning streak to three by defeating Westcastle 3-2.
With Jason Ovans hurt and Matt Fitzgibbon out of the starting lineup, it was a different look for the Cowichan team.
John Shah, the leading scorer in the league, put Westcastle into the early lead. Jordan Crocker then made his presence felt in his season debut, scoring off a Jacob Ready shot.
Westcastle went ahead again on a Shah penalty shot, but Cowichan pulled out the win in the late stages.
Justin Horne notched the equalizer and, with four minutes left, Ready sent a long ball to Robbie Martin, who slotted it past the ‘keeper.
“It was an epic comeback but our hard work keeps giving us opportunities,” noted Cowichan’s player-coach Neall Rowlings.