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Powell River Villa loses first away game of the season

Vic West downs Powell River 3-0 in tough-fought game
TEAM SPIRIT: Powell River Villa players get ready to face Vic West at Finlayson Turf in Victoria on September 25, after playing the first two games of the VISL season at home.

Powell River Villa lost its first game of the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) season 3-0 against Vic West on September 25 at Finlayson Turf in Victoria.

“We went down with a reduced lineup of regular players, and that put us at a little bit of a disadvantage,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “Vic West is one of the better teams in the division, but I expect when we meet them again in the new year in Powell River with our full lineup, we’ll be able to give them a tougher game.”

Vic West scored the first goal three minutes into the first half, then again at the 29-minute mark.

“We struggled in the first half, and gave up a couple goals,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “It came down to having a lot of new players on the field who were not completely familiar with each other. We regrouped and played a lot better in the second half. We got a few more chances, and yes, we did give up another goal at 65 minutes, but overall, we’re pretty happy with the way we played.”

Leach commended the players for pulling together and changing their strategy over the course of the game.

“In the first half, I think we were kind of in awe of Vic West,” he said. “That led to us making some mistakes, like bad passes that resulted in goal-scoring chances for them, or giving up possession of the ball far too easily.

“When we got back on the field for the second half, we were really playing soccer, and it showed in the number of chances we had and the way we were able to slow down their momentum.”

Several players spent the game in new positions, and for many, the change was positive.

“We had Grant Campbell on defence this game, playing centre back,” said McDonough. “He did a phenomenal job in that position. Jacob Duyvesteyn had another good game at right back, and overall everyone on the field did well.”

Villa has a record of one win, one draw and one loss, and plays at home this weekend against VISL Division 1 leaders Lakehill FC. The game starts at 1:30 pm on Saturday, October 2, at Timberlane Park, with tickets available at the gate.

“With our full lineup and ensuring we’re doing our defensive job first, and then taking advantage of any scoring opportunities that come our way, we’ll be able to have a good game against Lakehill,” said Leach. “But we’re not kidding ourselves: it’s going to be a challenge.”

McDonough hopes that meeting Lakehill at home for the first time this season will be an advantage.

“We usually have all our regular players at home, which means a more experienced lineup,” he said. “We’ve struggled against Lakehill in the past, and they have won all their games so far this season quite handily. We’ll definitely be drawing on the support of our fans this weekend, and we know it will be great soccer to watch, whatever happens.”

Following their match with Lakehill, Villa heads on the road for two games, first against Victoria Highlanders FC at Starlight Stadium in Victoria on October 9, and then meeting Juan de Fuca All Flows on October 24 at Goudy Turf in Langford. The team returns home October 30 to face Cowichan FC at Timberlane Park.