Sometimes you get the bounces, sometimes you don’t.
And members of Peace Arch United’s premier men’s soccer team know that as well as anyone after they were bounced from Provincial Cup contention Saturday, after a 5-1 first-round loss to their crosstown foes, Surrey United Firefighters.
The four-goal margin of victory was not indicative of the closeness of the game, Peace Arch United manager John Collins insisted, but a few suspect calls went against his squad early, and they weren’t able to recover.
For the first 25 minutes of the game, the teams battled to a scoreless draw, but Surrey took a 1-0 lead on a goal that hit a Surrey’s players hand – and changed direction – and snuck past Peace Arch goalkeeper Gyrish Kanaih, who was moving the opposite direction.
Seven minutes later, the Surrey made it 2-0 on a play that Collins said was off-side.
Peace Arch finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second half when Taki Vohalis beat the Surrey netminder, but by then Surrey had potted another two goals and it was 4-1.
“It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is,” said Collins, who has also been a part-time player for the squad this season. “We were playing really well until (the first goal), but then a few things happen and all of a sudden you’re up against it.
“But we aren’t going to complain about a couple of calls – we didn’t do enough to overcome them, and that’s why we lost, but when you think about all the what-ifs, and maybe a bounce or two that didn’t go your way, it’s tough to swallow.”
From his view from the opposite side of the field, Surrey United head coach Niall Thomson didn’t feel like the game was as tightly contested as Collins suggested, adding that Surrey simply wasn’t able to capitalize on some early chances.
“I think the only thing close was the score. We had a lot of chances at the beginning, and they held in there for awhile, but eventually we were able to put them away,” he said.
“We had a game plan, and we really wanted to pressure their back line, and were able to do that, and it worked out for us.”
Surrey United now advances to the second round of the Provincial Cup. They play West Vancouver Sunday at Vancouver’s Ambleside Park.
Earlier this season, West Van beat Surrey in extra time to capture the Imperial Cup.
“We’ve had some good battles with them,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile for Peace Arch, Collins is instead choosing to take the longview of his team’s fortunes, rather than stew over the end of the season.
After five Pakenham Cup titles in eight years, this was to be a transition year for PAU, Collins said. And in that regard, the season was a successful one, as many young players were given more responsibilities as the season progressed.
And, as he’s quick to point out, their season was not ended by an inferior team – Surrey United has been one of the Provincial Cup powerhouses for years.
“In the moment, you want to win every single game you’re in, but sometimes you have to step back and realize you can’t win every single thing every year,” Collins said.
“Sometimes you have to have these transitions, and this season gets us one step closer to getting back (to the top).
“I fully believe we’ll be one of the most competitive teams next year.”