Powell River Villa has had quite a Jackson Cup run in the last two years but this year its quest ended abruptly with a first round 3-0 loss to the Sooke Celtic.
Sooke, the fifth seed in division one, was well aware of Powell River’s recent Jackson Cup record and was not about to take the side lightly.
On Sunday at Cranberry Field, Sooke opened the game with a strong push that created havoc around the box of keeper Cory McCracken.
A couple of good chances just five minutes in ended with near misses to keep the match scoreless but relentless pressure resulted in the first goal by Sooke striker Steven Scott at 12 minutes.
At the top of the 18-yard box Scott took a pass with his back to the Villa net and he whirled around with one motion to blast a left-footed laser into the bottom left-hand corner.
McCracken saw the ball coming but despite his efforts it eluded his outstretched hands to give Sooke a 1-0 lead.
Villa seemed to come to life after the goal and levelled the playing field somewhat to give the team a few good chances.
Dylan McLean and Jordan Peters both worked the ball deep on several occasions and on one drive McLean was hauled down from behind but failed to get a call from the official.
Peters picked up the loose ball and had a good chance to even the score at 17 minutes but drove his shot over the net.
The speedy forward was indeed a problem for Celtic and it dealt with his energy by mugging him at centre field. He was on the ground for about five minutes but fortunately bounced back to resume his tempestuous tactics.
Villa kept up the pressure when a corner went out to Reese Unger who settled the ball but drove it high and a few minutes later McLean’s shot from close range off a Grant Campbell cross also flew over the bar.
As it was, Sooke was more opportunistic and able to add to the lead with Scott’s second goal just 30 seconds before the half-time break.
Down 2-0 put Villa in a deep hole but it battled hard in the second half to close the gap.
McLean was tackled twice within a couple of minutes but Villa was only awarded a penalty kick on the second infraction.
David Bertrand stepped up to take the shot but excitement turned to disappointment when he missed the net to the left.
After that Peters also had a glorious chance when he broke clear but failed to beat the keeper in a one on one.
Villa strikers had a chance to watch a finisher up close and personal when Celtic’s Scott scored his third of the game with a great solo effort to seal the 3-0 win.
While the result wasn’t particularly good for Villa, coach Jamie Zroback was encouraged by the chances Villa had and he hoped to work on remedies to score on them.
“We practised this all week because we recognized with the kids that we had a problem with finishing,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to have to work on again this week in practice.”
Despite the score Zroback was encouraged. “We absolutely poured it on them in the second half and I loved the intensity that our young kids are starting to show. We’re not going to have a problem with the rest of our games, I don’t think, if we keep bringing this to the table.”
Villa’s next league game is against Gordon Head Blue 1:30 pm, Sunday, February 20 at Sunset Park.