Powell River Villa won its first game of the season with a 3-0 shutout against Mid-Isle Mariners Sunday, October 20, at Merle Logan Turf in Nanaimo.
“We put in a solid 90-minute effort and got a great result,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “We’re really happy with the way we played this week.”
The win moves Villa out of the relegation zone in Vancouver Island Soccer League standings. At the end of the season, the two teams that finish lowest in the standings will drop down to Division 2, while the two top teams from Division 2 will move up to Division 1.
“We’re currently sitting with five points and six goals scored,” said McDonough. “Every game means a lot in this division, even though it’s still early in the season. We’re going to be fighting to stay out of the relegation zone so we can remain in Division 1 for next season and continue to improve.”
Villa played a more defensive game, the strategy they used in last week’s 1-1 tie with Nanaimo United.
“We are focusing on keeping our half of the field heavily defended, which opens up the opportunity for counterattacks,” said McDonough. “We were able to finish more of our chances this week, which led to the win.”
The first goal for Villa came at the eight-minute mark. “[Defender] Carl Hanson sent a longer ball overtop of their defence, and Kye Taylor was in position to receive it,” said McDonough. “He finished his breakaway with a goal.”
At 33 minutes, Richard Murphy was able to capitalize off a corner kick to put a header into the net for the second goal.
The third goal came early in the second half, when Jake Kenmuir got a shot off from 20 yards out and bent it into the top left corner of the Mariners’ net.
“It was definitely nice to get some goals,” said McDonough.
Villa’s defensive line was also on point, especially in the second half when the Mariners’ offence tried to get on the board.
“Nick Van’t Schip, Carl Hanson and Richard Murphy were very solid again,” said McDonough. “They are getting into a rhythm and are playing very well. Our goalkeeper Matt Liknes made several key saves in each half for the shutout. All in all, it was a great effort defensively.”
Villa is back home this weekend against Gorge FC, one of the bigger teams from Victoria.
“Gorge has been one of the better teams in the league for a long time, so it will be another tough game,” said McDonough. “But we’re finding our rhythm and are playing to our strengths now, so we’ll just keep doing that and working on getting more points on the board.”
Kickoff will be at 1:30 pm on Saturday, October 26, at Timberlane Park. Game tickets are $5 and will be available at the gate.
The following week, Villa will be on the road again, facing Cowichan FC on Sunday, November 3, at Sherman Road Turf in Duncan.