Steve Scott fends off a West Vancouver player during Cowichan’s 2-1 win in the first round of the provincial championship tournament last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

LMG eyes Nanaimo after 2-1 win over ‘classy’ West Van side

Cowichan a step closer to provincial final

Cowichan LMG’s win over West Van FC on Saturday was a monumental one, even though it came in the early going of the provincial men’s soccer championships.

Cowichan prevailed 2-1 over West Van FC, the third-ranked team in the Vancouver Metro league, at the David Williams Turf on Saturday to advance to the provincial quarter-finals.

“That was probably the highest-ranked team we’ve ever beaten,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “It wasn’t our biggest win — it’s just the first round —but we haven’t beaten anyone ranked higher than that.”

The victory should set Cowichan up for a good run through the provincial field.

“It’s a confidence builder to beat a team like that,” Martin said.

Craig Gorman scored both Cowichan goals, goalkeeper Darian Achurch was nearly unbeatable, striker Paddy Nelson ran non-stop for 90-plus minutes, and veteran Steve Scott dominated the game in the midfield.

“He’s amazing,” Martin said of Scott. “He’s getting better as he gets older. In the big games, his experience comes through.”

Windy conditions on Saturday were a definite factor, as Cowichan had the wind in the first half, then played against it in the second half. Fortunately, Cowichan was the only team able to score both with and against the wind. The weather didn’t make for the best soccer for the spectators, Martin acknowledged.

“With no wind, it would have made for better soccer to watch,” he said.

Gorman gave Cowichan a 1-0 lead late in the first half, then scored again in the second off a feed by Nelson. West Van scored in the 88th minute, and pressed hard to get the tying goal, taking corner kick after corner kick at Achurch’s net through the last two minutes of regulation and four minutes of extra time.

“Everything they had, they threw at us,” Martin said.

West Van was playing good soccer going into Saturday’s showdown, and hadn’t lost in 11 league games. They brought a full roster of players over to the Island.

“They did not take us lightly,” Martin said, calling West Van a “classy team.”

Martin was pleased with the way his team performed.

“On the day, we scored on our chances,” he said. “We played hard as a team. Everybody came to play.”

Cowichan will host Nanaimo in the quarter-finals after Nanaimo won an all-Island first-round matchup against Lakehill last weekend. Nanaimo beat Cowichan in the 2017 Jackson Cup final, but Cowichan has won all three meetings between the teams this season: two league games and a Jackson Cup match. Martin is going to focus on what his team can do rather than who the opposition is.

“I’m not worried about Nanaimo,” he said. “I’m just worried about getting my players ready. We know who they are and how they’re going to play.”

Cowichan will play host to Nanaimo this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the David Williams Turf on Sherman Road.

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