Morning Star Staff
Vernon Kal Tire gave props to acrobatic keeper Chris Bader as they opened the Kelowna Men’s 35+ Soccer League playoffs with a 3-0 win over Freeport Industries Monday night at Rutland Sports Field.
Stopper Ryan Sharp pushed forward and took a feed from Tim Mcgowan before burying the first Tiremen snipe on a sweet one-timer.
From there, fourth-place Vernon (11-6-1) struggled to find their form and made a few defensive blunders, forcing Bader to record a pair of marvellous breakaway saves.
Kal Tire’s offence came alive with about 20 minutes remaining. Fresh off a healthy meal from PhoFusion, John Duc cooked up the next two goals with the first being a one-time poke past the keeper with a defender doing a hard slide in as Duc shot.
Duc finished the scoring on a corker that the keeper could not handle. Strong defensive play and continued brilliant play by Bader – named the Beachcomber Home Leisure Man of the Match – moved Kal Tire into the semifinal round next Monday. Freeport placed fifth at 11-7.
Meanwhile, it was a possible playoff sneak preview between the Leko Precast Camels and Vernon Liquor Store Stars in a Capri Insurance 45+ League 1-1 draw at Marshall Field #5.
Playing against the sun in the first half, the fifth-place Liquormen found it increasingly difficult to move the ball up field. Countless attacks by the third-place Camels finally cumulated with a well-taken strike by Paul Morgan
Several opportunities presented themselves at both ends of the field with Ted Lurkins making some world-class saves to keep the Stars in the game.
The Liquormen pressed hard in the second half with some bold play from Andrew Whiston, David Howes and Cam Percy. Art Renaud equalized on a spectacular 30-yard strike, far corner.
The Stars looked to have won late on a Stephen McCourt header that was cleared off the line.
The Coombs Catering Soft Pudding Man of the Match was awarded to Stars’ towering defender Bill Graham, who travelled from Alberta for the hot contested annual clash of the Titans.
Bosman Accounting had more than three subs for the first time all season and upset Big O Tire-Turn-Key Ogopogos 4-1 at Marshall #2.
Remc Wijnhorst, on a gorgeous give-and-go with Henk Bosman, Ian Murphy on a fabulous shot, Kerry Correia, on a rebound after Murphy’s penalty kick was stopped by Yogi Kongsdorf, and Steve Coombs, with a cheeky 25-yard top-shelf floater, handled the Bosman attack.
Murphy actually beat Kongsdorf on his first PK attempt, but the referee called encroachment, forcing the South Africa product to re-take the shot. Murphy unselfishly left the rebound for Correia to tap in the empty net.
Gerry Geelkerken and Bosman each sent three great scoring chances wide or over the net.
Defender Ted Sheehan ran miles for Bosman (2-16-1) after being summoned from the 55+ reserves, earning the Sleeman’s Man of the Match. Defender Alex DeBoersap took honourable mention.
Gary Dill parted the Bosman defence and beat Pete (The Heat) Richter with a 25-yard blast for the Ogopogos’ goal. Striker Ruben Cervantes and winger John Garner shared the Zubot Photography Man of the Match honours.
League champion Brown Benefits bounced Brandt’s Creek 5-0 at Parkinson #9.
After a hard-fought opening 15 minutes, the Browns got on the board through leading scorer Tony Gonzales’ header from a Jim Kruiper cross.
Steve Nader doubled the lead 10 minutes later when he headed home Russ Hamer’s cross. After the break, the Brandt’s lads dug in and shut down the Browns’ attack with keeper Andy Miller making several sterling saves.
But the persistence of the 18-1 Browns’ offence finally paid off with three goals in the final five minutes.
Brad Heuser got his head on Grant Campbell’s long ball into the box, Gonzales notched his second of the night with a classic breakaway and Kruiper buried a curling shot to the bottom corner just before the final whistle. Brandt’s dipped to 3-12-4.
Second-place Penticton United grounded Kelowna’s Rented Mules 5-1 at Dale Meadows Park in Summerland.
Although missing keeper Mike Killick, several excellent saves by fill-in Brian Dean kept Penticton on top. United (16-3) took an early lead and were up 3-0 at half on goals from Ken Horncastle (2) and Zeke Pescada.
The Mules (2-16-1) fought back with an early second-half goal before Rob Jackson and Kevin Kothlow put the game out of reach.
Fourth-place North Country Appraisals Kickers and keeper David Gadd picked up their 11th shut-out of the season with a 1-0 win over Lake Country under the lights at Beasley Park.
Olaf Dijkstra scored in the first half for the 14-2-3 Kickers. Lake Country keeper Todd Ryder made several outstanding saves to keep the game close. Lake Country fell to 10-8-1, slipping to sixth place.