Brad Thorne scored twice in the Craig Street 49ers’ 4-0 win over Prospect Lake last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Better start pays off for Cowichan’s Craig Street 49ers

Fed up with his team's notoriously bad beginnings coach Kevin James made some changes to the lineup

For once, the Cowichan Craig Street 49ers didn’t have to overcome a slow start to win a game.

Fed up with his team’s notoriously bad beginnings — which haven’t prevented them from surging to the top of the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s Masters A division — coach Kevin James made some changes to the lineup. The team responded with three goals in the first half en route to a 4-0 win over Prospect Lake at the David Williams Turf last Friday.

“We’ve been notoriously starting slow and finding a way to get victories in the second half,” James said. “This was the best first half we’ve had all season.”

Brad Thorne led the way with two goals, while Darren Meiner and Brad Peterson had one each. Rob McIntyre and Preston Johnny shared the shutout in the Cowichan net, while Prospect Lake’s keeper had a strong outing of his own.

“Their goalie made three or four fantastic saves,” James noted. “It could have been seven goals.”

With few exceptions, Cowichan dominated the evening.

“We were in control for pretty much the entire game,” James said. “They battled hard, but it was a good, clean game.”

With few exceptions, Cowichan dominated the evening.

“We were in control for pretty much the entire game,” James said. “They battled hard, but it was a good, clean game.”

The 49ers remain tied with Gorge atop the Masters A standings. Both teams have 37 points through 14 games, but Gorge holds the edge in goal differential 44-40. Goal differential ended up determining the league title last year as well, with Cowichan finishing second to UVic Alumni.

The 49ers still have three games left to pull ahead of Gorge. This Saturday, Cowichan will visit the Masters B Saanich Fusion Internationals, a team Gorge defeated 6-0.

“It’s going to come right down to the wire,” James said. “We need to keep getting clean sheets and putting the ball in the net.

“A 1-0 win is three points. It keeps us on pace. We don’t want to focus on scoring goals. If we win 1-0, we will be happy with that.”

The Masters B Cowichan Steelheads won 3-1 over Bays United FC at home last Saturday, getting two goals from Marshall Wilkins and one from Sabur Abdulai. The Steelheads will be home again this Saturday against the UVic Alumni Masters A team at 6 p.m.

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