Two goals against Saturday was like a huge collapse for Cowichan LMG Pringle.
Cowichan went into its Div. 1 Island Soccer League game with just one goal allowed in 10 games, but the total went through the roof in a 2-0 loss to Bays United Liquor Plus.
Actually, the two goals didn’t exactly signify some sudden problem with the team. One came on a penalty shot and the other late in the game when Cowichan was pressing forward to take a shot at the equalizer.
The result tightened up the standings considerably behind Cowichan, with Bays United, Saanich, Vic West and Nanaimo all just seven points apart. Cowichan has a bye this weekend and the other teams all have games in hand.
“We just made the league very interesting,” said Cowichan coach Glen Martin. “Five teams realistically have a chance to win the league.”
Bays scored at the 30-minute mark when Dan Cummings went down in the box and Kellen Holden scored on the ensuing penalty.
“Right away, we were behind it a bit,” said Martin. “We were trying to chase it a bit.”
Cowichan got things going toward the end of the first half and the momentum carried over into the second.
“We really outplayed them in the second half,” said Martin.
He was amazed Cowichan didn’t tie the score on a flurry of activity around the Bays net, guarded by highly-regarded Elliot Mitrou. Steve Scott hit the post, Connor Crichton’s rebound shot was stopped by Mitrou and then another attempt went off Bays for a corner kick.
“That summed our night up,” said Martin. “It was not meant to be.”
Crichton had another great chance later, but couldn’t convert that one, either.
The inevitable push for the equalizer led to a goal the other way in the 85th minute by Bays’ Matt Northrup on goalie Darian Achurch.
“We let him walk in and let a shot go to the top corner,” said Martin.
Cowichan is feeling a bit of a pinch with only 11 regular guys and some call-ups for the game while Bays loaded up with 19 guys available.
Meanwhile, Div. 2 Cowichan United outplayed Gordon Head Blazers badly, but Friday’s game finished scoreless.
“We just couldn’t find the luck we needed,” noted Cowichan’s Neall Rowlings.
One shot hit the top crossbar and bounced out and hit the last defender. Cowichan couldn’t find the net shot after shot.
“If we keep playing like that we will be unstoppable,” Rowlings raved.
Cowichan plays Gorge at the Ladysmith Turf at 7:15 p.m. Friday. Cowichan is now in fourth place and could rally to a solid second or third or even relegation — it’s that close in another tight year in Div. 2.