Things weren’t looking good for the Cowichan 49ers Masters soccer team as they headed into play over the weekend. With a formidable foe in third-place Gorge on the road at Hampton Park, the 49ers were already down their captain Richard Lord thanks to an injury that will keep him out for six weeks. A few other regulars were also missing from the lineup.
“This is why it’s key to have a deep, talented roster like we do,” said 49ers player/manager Neall Rowlings. Despite it all, the lads beat Gorge 2-nil thanks to goals from Rowlings and Matt (Arnie) Arnett. Arnett’s goal came at the 21-minute mark from about 20 yards out off his right foot. Then came all the close calls.
Brad (Archie) Archibald scored a nice header goal from a Tyler Hughes cross that was deemed offside.
Stuart (Shake N Bake) Barker put a nice header off the post.
“We hit a few crossbars and posts but the Gorge goalie also came up quite big,” Rowlings conceded.
The goalie wasn’t a match for “Rocket” Rowlings himself, however, as he put one in the back of the net at the 76-minute mark. The play started from man of the match Yuta Yamato putting pressure on the defender and then Kale Haley sliding hard into a tackle.
“The defence has been stalwart this year with Jesse Winter, Adam Taft, Jai Irvine, Todd Vass, Richard Lord, Adrian Achurch and Chad Bastian,” Rowlings said. “We have some big games that will test us as a team, and we are just taking it game by game.”
And while the attackers have done their jobs, the victories wouldn’t happen without the efforts of standout goalie Darian Achurch.
“He has been a wall in goal, recording three shutouts and coming up big in every game,” Rowlings said. The 49ers now sit atop the league standings, at 3-0 with zero goals against, with a home derby against the Cowichan Steelheads this Saturday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Sherman Road turf.
Off to a slow start this season, the Steelheads seem to be picking up momentum. “We know they will be prepared and fighting us hard for this game,” Rowlings said.