Tying another lowly team costly
Avoiding ties helped Cowichan LMG Pringle stay ahead of the pack in Div. 1 of the Island Soccer League.
But the situation has changed drastically in the last three weeks, with Cowichan playing to ties against the bottom two teams in the division.
A chance at the league title to complement its recent Jackson Cup success now seems remote for Cowichan.
Cowichan’s game on the road against Prospect Lake Saturday finished scoreless, the same result that occurred two weeks ago when Cowichan and Salt Spring Island both failed to produce any goals.
Prospect is in ninth place with just seven points and Salt Spring is last with six. Yet, Cowichan couldn’t match its vaunted offense of a year ago with a goal against either team.
As a result, Bays United Liquor Plus has taken over top spot with a 14-1 record for 42 points from 15 games. Cowichan slipped to second at 13-1-2 for 41 points from 16 games and Saanich Fusion stands third at 13-1-1 for 40 points from 15 games.
Cowichan visits the Fusion Friday and could drop all the way to third if it doesn’t get a result.
While the Cowichan defence remains strong with just eight goals against, the offense isn’t producing the goals.
“It’s a little depressing. We couldn’t put it away,’’ said Cowichan coach Glen Martin of the Prospect Lake game.
“They worked hard. They had a game plan. They sat back and absorbed a lot of punishment.’’
The Prospect goalkeeper made three key saves off Tyler Hughes. Cowichan also had an apparent goal by Ryan Andre nullified on an offside.
Martin felt optimistic at halftime that something would break in the second half.
“It was just feeling like it was a matter of time,’’ he said.
Cowichan goalie Joel Wilson was forced to make a couple of key saves on Prospect counterattacks. “We were pressing hard,’’ said Martin.
Jesse Winter was not in the lineup, but Cowichan found an admirable fill-in to play alongside Hughes in Brennen McCleary from the Victoria Highlanders.
The key game with the Fusion will be followed in short order by a first round Jackson Cup battle against Bays United Feb. 16.
“If defense wins the Cup, we’re going to be in good shape,’’ said Martin.
Fusion cements a 1-0 victory
Cowichan United of Div. 2 had its two-game win streak snapped in a 1-0 loss on the road Saturday against the Saanich Fusion.
Cowichan remains just above the .500 mark, tied for third place at 7-6-2.
Saanich came out strong and put Cowichan under the gun. Goalkeeper Darian Achurch made a big save on a well-placed free kick, but Saanich still opened the scoring with the only goal it would need on a header from a long throw-in.
Cowichan stepped up and made it an exciting game, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Jordan Korven turned in an outstanding performance, playing centre defense and finishing at striker.
George Thomas joined the United ranks for the first time this season and proved to be a valuable addition.
Cowichan plays its final league game Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at McAdam Park against league-leading Lakehill United.
Lakehill won the previous meeting of the teams 2-0. But Cowichan hopes its solid home record will make a difference in the rematch since only one team has left the valley with a tie this season.