Kevin Smith moves the ball during the Cowichan 49ers’ season opener at McAdam Park on Sept. 7. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

49ers regroup to hold off Lakehill

6-2 victory not one of Cowichan’s best, says coach

Although the scoreline from the Cowichan 49ers’ 6-2 win over Lakehill Monkey tree suggested a dominant victory, head coach Kevin James wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance.

“It wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t one of our best games,” James said of the win at Braefoot Park that improved Cowichan’s record to 2-0 early in the Vancouver Island Soccer League masters season. “From a coaching standpoint, full marks to Lakehill. I was a little disappointed with our work ethic. There was a 30-minute span in the game where Lakehill absolutely outworked us. We took them for granted and it sort of bit us.”

The match featured five goals in a span of just 13 minutes, including three in less than three minutes, which is exciting for the fans, but not necessarily thrilling for a coach.

Neall Rowlings opened the scoring for Cowichan at 11 minutes. Lakehill got on the board 11 minutes after that, then Ryan Fusick answered for Cowichan a minute later, and Lakehill regained the tie a minute after that. Rowlings restored Cowichan’s lead for good at 31 minutes, and Kevin Smith put the 49ers up 4-2 in the 35th minute. Darcy Penner and George Thomas added goals for Cowichan later on.

The team addressed the letdown at halftime, and things were better in the second half, said James, who will chalk it all up to a learning experience.

“It was good in the sense that it was a wakeup call that we can’t expect to just show up and win,” he said.

“Lakehill proved that when you outwork a team, you get results. I can’t stress enough how much it was a wakeup call for us. If we show up like that against a UVic, we’ll get thumped.”

The 49ers will have to do better to get a win against a strong Gorge FC team this Saturday when the teams meet at the Sherman Road turf at 6 p.m.

“No matter what the result is, whether we win, lose or draw, we’re not going to be outworked against Gorge,” James said. “That’s a guarantee.”

The Cowichan Steelheads had their game last weekend rescheduled, and will be on the road this weekend to visit Castaways.

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