Midfielder Luke Phye scored his first goal of the year on Sunday. Photo by Scott Strasser. (Taken during an earlier game this season).

Comox Valley United earn crucial win against last-placed Vantreights

The win puts the Reds out of the VISL's relegation zone, with five games left to play

Comox Valley United earned a vital three points on Dec. 3 in an away match in Victoria against last-placed Vantreights FC.

The Comox Valley squad left the provincial capital in high spirits after a 3-0 victory, with goals from Liam Creek, Joe Butcher, and Luke Phye. All three scored their first goals of the season.

Alongside a strong offensive showing, United goalkeeper Beau Belle Oudry earned the team just its second clean sheet of the 2017–18 season — the Reds’ only other shutout this year came in the season opener, a 0-0 draw against Nanaimo United on Sept. 9.

The Vancouver Island Soccer League’s bottom two teams in Division 1 squared off on Sunday both desperately in need of points; United was coming off an eight-game winless streak after falling 3-0 to league-leading Cowichan FC the weekend before, while Vantreights was in an even worse slump, having won only one game so far this season.

Read More: Cowichan FC blanks Comox Valley United 3-0

Despite travelling to the capital with only two available substitutes, Comox Valley got off to a good start with a goal from Creek in the 20th minute. Butcher swung in a hard, low cross into the six-yard box, which Creek managed to redirect into the net.

Butcher later doubled the visitors’ lead from a corner kick, slamming a half-volley into Vantreight’s goal from a tight angle. The score would remain 2-0 until half-time.

United continued to push as the second half got underway. Shortly after the restart, Phye secured the win for the visiting team in the 50th minute. Following a through-ball from Gokhan Avcil, Phye found himself one-on-one with the Vantreights keeper. Keeping his cool, he slotted the ball past the on-rushing keeper to make the score 3-0.

From there, United’s players held on for the rest of the match, shoring up their defence to close out what would be just their third win of the 2017–18 season.

With the result, United leap-frog the VI Wave and currently sit in eighth place of the 10-team VISL with a 3-7-3 record and five games left to play. Vantreights remains in last place with a 1-11-0 record. The bottom two teams will be relegated to the second division for next season, while the top four qualify for the provincial playoffs.

Comox Valley United will play one more game before the one-month winter break — on Saturday, Dec. 9 against Gorge FC. Kick-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the GP Vanier Turf Field, in Courtenay.

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