After two straight 2-0 losses, the Cowichan Farm Store Fury played to a 3-3 tie with Vantreights in Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 3 action at Victoria’s Topaz Park on Sunday.
The Fury tailored their play to the Topaz grass surface, and it worked in the early going.
“I cannot remember the last time I was there and there was this much grass,” Cowichan coach Will Chaster said. “Topaz is on the smaller side, so most keepers can send the ball to the opposition’s 18-yard box. So the long grass and short field was front and centre in our minds.”
Cowichan controlled the ball and the tempo for the first 30 minutes, losing Jonas Golf-Myers in the process as he was sidelined by what Chaster called “a very rash challenge” from a Vantreights defender.
Matthew Archambault got Cowichan on the board first, which fired up the Vantreights players.
“Once we went one goal up, Vantreights became more attacking, and as they are a taller and heavier team than us, they ramped up the pressure and their physical play,” Chaster said.
Vantreights got the equalizer, then caught Cowichan goalie Tim den Hartigh off balance to score their second goal, then were the beneficiaries of a penalty kick for a handball. Capitalizing on that opportunity, Vantreights pulled ahead 3-1.
Though their shoulders sagged momentarily, the Cowichan players rallied and returned to the game plan. Smart balls through the midfield took advantage of Vantreights’ weaknesses on defence, and Brandon Tolfo scored in the 61st and 71st minutes to tie the game.
“It was a good lesson for us to learn that we can go toe to toe and keep to our game plan and not have to resort to a more basic form of football,” Chaster said.
The Fury will hit the road again this weekend to face Prospect Lake at Beckwith Park on Sunday.