Cowichan LMG had already clinched the Garrison Cup as the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s Div. 1 champions, but that didn’t mean they were going to let up when they played host to Gorge last Friday.
Although head coach Glen Martin gave significant playing time to several players who usually come off the bench, Cowichan still prevailed by a convincing 4-0 score.
Gorge, which is in a four-team dogfight for the third through sixth positions, had a lot more to lose than Cowichan.
“For Gorge, it meant a lot,” Martin noted. “It’s good to beat a team that came to play.”
Paddy Nelson scored first-half goals in the eighth and 23rd minutes. Cooper Barry and Craig Gorman found the back of the net in the second half, in the 57th and 69th minutes, respectively. Gorge earned a red card as proceedings got nasty late in the second half, but Cowichan was unable to capitalize.
“We had chances to score, but just didn’t,” Martin said.
Darian Achurch collected his league-best seventh shutout of the season. Among Cowichan’s starters against Gorge were several who hadn’t started the previous match, including Russell Lederer, Jose Muro, Govinda Innes and Brad Archibald.
LMG’s next league game isn’t until Feb. 24, when they visit Vic West. Vic West will need a single point to clinch second place, while Cowichan will be looking for a club-record 15th win, which would give them 46 points, also a club record. Nelson’s 21 goals are one back of Lakehill’s Ryan Andre for the league lead, and he will be looking to pull ahead in that race, although Martin isn’t optimistic.
“The forfeit game [a no-show by the V.I. Wave in October] and the game that was called short [the Dec. 8 “Fog Bowl” against Vantreights] will probably cost him the title,” the coach said.
Cowichan has this coming weekend off as they have a bye through the first round of Jackson Cup play. They get going in that tournament on Feb. 16 when they host the V.I. Wave.