The Cowichan 49ers remained undefeated in the tiering portion of the Vancouver Island Soccer League masters season with a 4-0 win over Prospect Lake at Adam Kerr Park on Friday night.
Stu Barker continued his monster season with three goals, giving him 15 so far this year, and Ryan Fusick potted the other after a free kick by George Thomas caromed off the crossbar. Rob McIntyre picked up the shutout in the Cowichan net.
Notorious for their slow starts, the defending VISL masters champions were better off the opening kickoff against Prospect.
“It was our toughest game so far,” head coach Kevin James said. “But it was the best first half I’ve seen us play in quite a while as far as not coming out totally flat. We didn’t play great, but we didn’t play poor. We’ve been coming out in the first 15 or 20 minutes flat as a pancake. It was definitely an improvement, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
As is usually the case, the 49ers dominated play after the halftime break.
“In the second half we took over,” James said. “Our pace put them on their heels.”
The score could have been more lopsided than it was as the Cowichan players created more chances than just the four they capitalized on.
“You’re not going to win all your games by seven or eight goals,” James acknowledged.
James wants to see his team build on what they did in the first half on Friday.
“We were much better from start to finish,” he said. “I hope we can keep moving forward. If we can play the same level in the first 45 minutes as we do in the second 45, that’s our goal.”
Sitting atop the red pool with four wins and no losses, the 49ers have outscored their opponents 24-2 thus far. They have three games left in pool play, beginning with a home game at the Sherman Road turf this Saturday against Lakehill Monkey Tree.
“It will be another tough game if they come up with their full side,” James said.
Other teams tend to bring their best against teams like the 49ers, and UVic Alumni and Gorge, who are in the blue pool.
“If we come in cocky and overconfident, we’re going to give up points,” the coach cautioned.
At least until the end of pool play, the 49ers are cheering on Cowichan’s other masters team, the Steelheads, who remain in the mix in the blue pool with two wins and two losses following a 4-0 setback against UVic Alumni on Saturday.
Also with three games remaining, the Steelheads sit three points back of Gorge and SFFC Forest in the race for a top-three spot. which would send them to the A division for the first time in team history.
The Steelheads will face another tough test this Saturday when they visit Gorge at Hampton Park.