Cowichan’s Keevan Webb gets some support from teammate A.J. Kambere (16) as he carries the ball in from the sideline during his team’s 4-1 win over  Vic West at the Ladysmith turf last Friday.

Cowichan’s Keevan Webb gets some support from teammate A.J. Kambere (16) as he carries the ball in from the sideline during his team’s 4-1 win over Vic West at the Ladysmith turf last Friday.

LMG victors despite sluggish start

It had been two weeks since Cowichan LMG last took the field for a Vancouver Island Soccer League game.

It had been two weeks since Cowichan LMG last took the field for a Vancouver Island Soccer League game, and the team had held just two training sessions in that time. So it wasn’t a surprise the players took some time — about 20 minutes of last Friday’s home game against Vic West — to get going.

“It took a while,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “To be honest, we didn’t start very well. We were off our game. Due to a lack of training and not playing the week before, we weren’t as sharp as we should be.”

Despite that slow start, and the aggressive play of Vic West, Cowichan prevailed 4-1 in what is likely to be the team’s last game at Ladysmith’s Forrest Field.

Cowichan led 1-0 at halftime thanks to Paddy Nelson’s goal at 31 minutes, his 17th of the season.

“Once Paddy made it 1-0, we started playing better,” Martin said.

Nelson scored again in the second half, at the 63rd minute, and that one would stand up as the game-winner. Not long after, the Cowichan defence misplayed the ball and it ended up in the net behind goalie Sam Hutchison.

“We were in total control until then,” Martin said. “We were just going to play the game out. Making it 2-1 gave them some hope.”

Andres Algarin restored LMG’s two-goal lead with a hard shot from just outside at 75 minutes, and Steve Scott made it 4-1 in the 90th minute. The Vic West goalie made the initial save on a corner kick, but dropped the ball at the feet of Scott, who was able to tap it home.

“Their goalie played so well until that goal,” Martin pointed out. “He had a great game.”

With less than 15 left to play, Cowichan suffered a devastating blow when Hutchison, the top keeper in Div. 1 with just six goals against and eight clean sheets this season, twisted his knee and had to leave the game. He is expected to be sidelined for five or six weeks. Backup Taylor Joe stepped up to fill in for the remainder of the game, but Martin isn’t sure if Joe will be handed the goalie gloves in Hutchison’s prolonged absence.

In more positive news, Cowichan veteran Stu Barker had a great game at centre back.

“He was solid defensively,” Martin said. “He was steady, good positionally.”

Still well in front of the rest of Div. 1, LMG will take on Gorge at 7 p.m. this Friday at Hampton Park. Gorge sits sixth in the division with less than half as many points as Cowichan, but Martin doesn’t want to risk falling behind early.

“We weren’t sharp [against Vic West] because of a lack of games and a lack of training, but we got going,” he said. “Hopefully we can carry that over to Gorge on Friday.”

The game against Gorge will be Cowichan’s 14th of the season and last before the winter break. If they win, this will be the first time the team has reached Christmas without a loss.

The team’s next home game is set for Jan. 23, when they should be able to play on the new Sherman Road turf. The turf was just shy of being ready for last weekend’s contest.

“If that game isn’t on the turf, something has gone wrong,” Martin said. “Something major has happened.”

Martin has been named the head coach of the VISL all-star team — which will certainly include several Cowichan players — that will take on the best the Fraser Valley has to offer at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Layritz Park.

 

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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