As expected, the North Okanagan Soccer League title was decided on the final night of the regular season.
North Enderby Timber toppled Davidson & Co. Dynamite 7-0 Wednesday night at Marshall Field #2 to take the crown by one point over Turn-Key Controls and Salmon Arm Courvas.
The 13-3-2 Timber, who gave up just 16 goals all year, open the Gibson Cup playoffs Sunday (6 p.m.) against the eighth-place Dynamite at Marshall #4.
In other first-round games Sunday, Courvas, who grabbed second place with a slightly better goal differential than Turn-Key, face seventh-place Monashee Surveying in Salmon Arm.
Turn-Key tangles with the sixth-seeded Hi-Pro Sportswear Camels at Marshall #2, while No. 4 Revelstoke Stallions host No. 5 Nation of Domination Eagle Homes.
The semifinals go Wednesday night (6:00) with venues to be announced. The final is Sunday, Aug. 26 (6 p.m.) at Marshall #2.
Veteran Graham Ross scored the winner for NET after the shortstaffed Nitros drew a foul 25 yards out in the fifth minute. Ross stepped up and curled a ball over the wall, under the crossbar to the back post.
Just two minutes later, Brent Poulsen cradled a sweet through ball from Ross and beat keeper Ean Ross to the bottom right.
In the 38th minute, Sean Lister chased down a loose ball, battled with a defender before getting an extra touch in, and slid the ball past the keeper, bottom right.
At 52 minutes, Chris Ovens used his power to climb above multiple defenders to get his head on a Poulsen cross and past Ross.
Poulsen then carried the ball to the goal line at the corner of the 18, spotted Corey Wallis at the back post and chipped a pass over everybody to Wallis, who calmly headed the ball to Alex Farina streaking to the back post. Farina smoothly walked the ball into the goal for the snipe of the night, in the 78th minute.
Just three minutes later, James drove a left-footed cross to the foot of Brandon Enair, who hammered the ball to the back post and in. Poulsen closed things out in the 88th minute by cracking a shot through the five-hole of Ross, who had been shaken up after a hard collision minutes before with NET’s Andy Stein.
Danny Stein proved once again why he’s the top keeper in the league with yet another shutout.
Controls riding high
Turn-Key enter the playoffs on a nine-game winning streak after ambushing the Salmon Arm Outlaws 5-0 at Marshall #1.
Brothers Preston and Nathan Tucker supplied two goals each to power the Turn-Key offence, however it was the Controllers’ back line that turned heads.
Carson Haywood-Farmer opened the scoring early in the first half, with his first of the year, off a well-placed strike after taking possession of a scramble in the Outlaw 18-yard box.
Turn-Key owned the ball for most of the match as all 11 players worked as a unit, working the ball all over the pitch.
The middle of the field was anchored by the Tuckers and Brendan Love, and with help from the central defenders, Haywood-Farmer and Sam and Alex Nolan, the group kept driving the Turn-Key offence down the field.
The elusive runs from the strikers and wingers provided several chances that were turned away by the great play of the Outlaws’ keeper.
Natural defender Sean Bonnett earned the shutout in his first career game as a goalkeeper. He didn’t face much action, but when called upon, Bonnett channeled his volleyball instincts to spike away opposing shots and preserve the clean sheet.
Surveyors slip by Camels
Monashee brushed off the Camels 2-1 at Marshall #4 to finish a game back of Hi-Pro.
The first 20 minutes was a chess match of solid passing and attacks by both teams. The scoring opened with a nice shot by Fabrice Fanfani from outside by the Camels. The ensuing rebound off stand-in keeper Ryan Sharp was put away by veteran Camel Bryan Schenker.
Five minutes into the second half, Monashee forward Devon Marriott cruised on a stellar solo run and created a great passing play to the top of the box. Midfielder Jay Aarsen confidently buried the ball in the back of the net.
Monashee’s winner came in the final minutes off a spirited effort by striker Alberto Lopez, who fought for the ball at the edge of the 18, and dished a gorgeous ball to awaiting midfielder Darren Nobrega.
Nobrega tapped the ball off the inside of the post and into the net.
Zacharia Sharp (Ryan’s brother) provided stellar defensive soccer and midfielder Geoff Straight went hard all 90 minutes for Monashee.
Courvas bounced Concept Physio 5-3 at Marshall #3, while Revelstoke and Eagle Homes drew 2-2.