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Loss caps off 2022 for Powell River Villa

Third-place VISL club Gorge FC score early at Timberlane Park and hold on for the win
SOCCER SCRAMBLE: Powell River Villa players [from left, visible, in red] Griffin Leach, Kiran Hollmann Prichard, Adam Hopper and Jake Kenmuir focus on the ball before a free kick in the Gorge FC end during a Vancouver Island Soccer League match on Saturday, December 10, at Timberlane Park.

Powell River Villa finished off 2022 with a close 1-0 loss to third-place Gorge FC at Timberlane Park on Saturday, December 10.

“We played fairly well the whole game, but definitely stepped it up in the second half,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “We had four or five good scoring chances throughout the game to their one or two, and we just weren’t able to capitalize on them. That makes the difference between wins and losses.”

The single goal of the game came at 24 minutes in the first half after a free kick in the Gorge end.

“After our free kick, Gorge was able to break out,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “We missed a couple of tackles and a couple of opportunities to clear the ball, and they were able to score. But it was one of the only chances they had, because our defensive line was very solid and played very well for the remainder of the game.”

The second half provided excitement to the crowd who braved the variable weather to cheer on the home team.

“We definitely had more forward momentum in the second half,” said Adam Hopper, who is playing his first full year with Villa. “The pitch was a bit slippery with the rain and the wind, but we were moving forward and staying together as a team, winning headers and pressing them.”

Leach was also pleased with the improvement the team showed this game on their throw-ins.

“We’ve had a tough time winning our throw-ins, and in this game, we won about 80 per cent of them, which is a massive improvement,” he said. “The whole team picked up their pace in the second half, and that was great to see.”

McDonough also praised midfielders Richard “Chico” Murphy and Russell Pielle for their performances, and backline players Joel Harry and Jake Kenmuir.

“Chico and Russell were solid in the midfield, and Jake moved the ball to our forwards extremely well,” he said. “Joel was a solid presence on the back line, and it was great to have him back on the field.”

Villa is now on holiday break until January, with only four games left to play in the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) season. On Saturday, January 14, the club travels to Victoria to face Bays United FC, then returns to Timberlane on Saturday, January 21, for a game against Nanaimo United FC.

“We’re looking forward to coming back strong after the break,” said Hopper. “Our goal is to finish out of the relegation zone, and that’s still achievable.”