Cowichan LMG head coach Glen Martin was less upset about his team’s first loss of the Vancouver Island Soccer League season than he was by how it came about.
“The way it happened was the annoying part,” Martin grumbled after his Div. 1 team’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of Nanaimo United at Merle Logan Park on Saturday afternoon.
The teams were tied at 2-2 in the 89th minute when goalkeeper Darian Achurch took the ball for a goal kick. Achurch’s kicks typically go really deep, so the other Cowichan players were already far down the field. This particular kick didn’t go as far as usual, and a Nanaimo player managed to receive it, head it into a breakaway, and score to put his team ahead.
“I can take losing any time,” Martin said. “Losing that way is tough to take.”
Both teams held the upper hand at times during the match, Martin noted, suggesting that a 2-2 final score would have probably suited the game better.
“It went in little stages,” he said. “Each team took stages of beating on the other team.”
Cowichan ended up playing a wide-open style that doesn’t suit the way the team is built this season, and the defence uncharacteristically hung Achurch out to dry a few times.
“Our defence wasn’t good,” Martin said. “We got scored on three times, but Darian had a good game.”
Cowichan started the game well, dominating play in the early going. After a series of scoring chances that didn’t lead to anything, Russell Lederer put Cowichan up 1-0 around the 30-minute mark.
“We blew three chances, but we got a goal,” Martin said.
Cowichan fell into a lull after that, and Nanaimo tied the score a couple of minutes later. After missing their next chance, Nanaimo scored again to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.
“We deserved to be down 2-1,” Martin said. “It could have been 3-1.”
Cowichan regrouped at the break, and came out strong in the second half, generating several chances once again.
“We were almost back to how we were at the start of the game,” Martin recalled.
It was Nanaimo’s turn to take control after that, and the hosts could have made it 3-1 a couple of times. Lederer scored against the play to make it 2-2, and Cowichan nearly held on to earn what would have been a satisfying draw on the road.
Lederer’s two goals made him the first Cowichan player this season to score more than one goal, and he was also awarded the team hard hat.
“It wasn’t because he scored,” Martin said. “He was running hard. I can’t say anybody else had an outstanding game except for Darian.”
With three wins, three draws and a single loss, Cowichan sits fifth in Div. 1. The team has this weekend off, and will next visit Fernwood on Nov. 18.
Former Cowichan standout Craig Gorman will be returning to the club, Martin noted. Gorman was one of three longtime Cowichan players who moved to Bays United in the offseason, and scored three goals for his new club before deciding he wanted to return to LMG. Martin believes he will help add some offence to a Cowichan team that has scored just 11 times in seven matches this year.
“Hopefully he can help us,” the coach said. “He’ll give us an extra body and a quality player.”