Paddy Nelson, seen here in a game last season, scored his 100th goal in a Cowichan jersey against Lakehill on Friday. (todd blumel photo)

LMG’s Paddy Nelson hits century mark in LMG win

Cowichan plays at home Friday, then heads to winter break

Paddy Nelson hit a unique milestone on Friday as he scored all three goals for Cowichan LMG in a 3-1 road win over Lakehill.

The goals were the 98th, 99th and 100th of Nelson’s four-season career with the Cowichan Div. 1 men’s soccer team. Making the century mark unique is the fact that it’s virtually impossible to say how often the mark has been reached in the past.

“I think I’m the only one to have hit it,” Nelson laughed. “But only because Glen is the only one to have ever kept the stats. It’s funny more than anything else.”

According to Martin, Nelson is probably the first to hit 60, 70, 80, having long ago become Cowichan’s all-time scoring leader.

“He’s incomparable,” the coach said. “There’s no one to compare him to.”

Nelson’s 100 goals for Cowichan include 83 in the Vancouver Island Soccer League and 17 in cup play. Twenty-three of them have been game-winners. Sunday’s match was, Martin is pretty sure, his 81st game for LMG.

“He scores basically five goals every four games,” Martin noted.

Nelson — also known in soccer circles as “The Wiz” — downplays his ability to finish.

“Playing up front on the best team in the league, I better score some goals,” he said. “Or I’d look like an idiot.”

Nelson joined Cowichan in the 2014-15 season, and made an immediate impact.

“Before he came, we were struggling to score goals,” Martin recalled. “We got him, Cooper [Barry] and [Craig] Gorman here at the same time, and they changed the way we play.”

Nelson has scored about 35 per cent of Cowichan’s goals since his arrival, and that trio has accounted for about 70 per cent of the offence. Nelson alone has scored 16 of the team’s 31 goals so far this year.

Nelson scored his first goal on Sunday on a penalty shot in the 32nd minute, and Cowichan led 1-0 at halftime. Nelson’s next two came on second-half corner kicks, chested and headed in. Lakehill scored their only goal with about 15 minutes left to play.

“We played pretty well as a team,” Martin said.

It was an ugly night weather-wise, and Lakehill had a strong lineup, bolstered by several recent pickups from UVic, so Cowichan wasn’t expecting an easy go against a middle-of-the-pack team that isn’t yet out of the running for a top-four finish.

Next up for first-place Cowichan is a home game against last-place Vantreights this Friday at 7 p.m. As always, Martin isn’t taking the opposition lightly.

“You never know what they’re going to bring,” he said. “They’ve got lots of guys on their roster. It’s a Div. 1 game. There’s the same number of points as when you play a top team.”

This will be Cowichan’s last match before the Christmas break

“We’ll still be in first, win or lose,” Martin said. “We want to keep rolling.”

Kevin