Cowichan LMG watched another two-goal lead disappear in their latest Div. 1 men’s soccer match, but this time, it wasn’t due to their own play.
Leading Gorge 2-0 with less than five minutes left to play at Hampton Park on Friday, Cowichan was in lockdown mode to seal up the road victory. With play in Cowichan’s end, defender Keevan Webb was shielding the ball so it would go out for a goal kick, when he touched shoulders with a Gorge player who went down. According to Cowichan coach Glen Martin, the referee initially appeared ready to let it go, but the linesman convinced him to overturn his initial call and award Gorge a penalty kick.
“It’s a soccer play that happens three, four, five times a game,” Martin related. “It never gets called for a foul, let alone a penalty shot.”
The penalty kick was successful, and Gorge gained some momentum, scoring the tying goal on a lucky bounce two minutes later. The 2-2 score held up through the final whistle.
Martin called the penalty kick call “the worst officiating decision I’ve ever seen by an experienced referee.”
“It was just one goal, but it changed everything,” he said.
Cowichan had played well through the rest of the match, getting goals from Blaze Roberts at the 31st and 57th minutes and looked like they would cruise to victory as time ticked away.
“We were playing smart soccer, dominating play,” Martin said. “They weren’t even pushing. There was nothing going on. Then they decided to make that call.”
The coach had no complaints about his own team.
“Everybody on the team played well,” he said. “It was a textbook road game for us.”
He’s confident that things will go Cowichan’s way soon enough.
“It’s a long season, and what goes around comes around,” he said. “We’ll get a lucky break.”
The team now has two wins, two draws and one loss on the season.
“It feels like such a fine line between being 5-0 and 2-1-2,” Martin noted. “We’ve got to learn to finish those games off.”
Cowichan will look for a win on their home turf when they host Nanaimo this Friday at 7:30 p.m.