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Powell River Villa season opener ends in 1-1 tie

Vancouver Island Soccer League side plays at home again this weekend; looking for redemption against Comox
EYES UP: Powell River Villa and Westcastle United players keep an eye on the ball in front of the Villa net during their season-opening VISL match at Timberlane Park on Saturday, September 10.

A late goal in the second half by the visitors disappointed players and fans alike as Powell River Villa played to a 1-1 tie with Westcastle United in the club’s season opener at Timberlane Park on Saturday, September 10.

“Overall, I’m happy with the way we started the game,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “We’ve been working on the different phases of play in practice, and the players came out really great. We had control of the game for most of the first half.”

James Timothy scored Villa’s goal at 22 minutes in the first half, allowing the home team to enter halftime with the lead.

“James has been playing very well, both last season and so far this season,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “He’s clinical with his finishing, and we’re benefiting from that. For this goal, he put in a shot mid-height on the right side past the Westcastle keeper.”

Westcastle regrouped for the second half and put pressure on the home side before finally scoring at 86 minutes to tie the game.

“Kye [Taylor] was injured late in the second half, and that impacted our momentum,” said Leach. “There was also more distance between our forward and back lines, so the midfield had more ground to cover, and Westcastle was able to take advantage of that to tie the game.”

While McDonough and Leach would have liked to come away with a win, a draw leaves Villa in the middle of the standings after one weekend of Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Division 1 play.

“We are definitely still building on the skills and camaraderie we had last year,” said McDonough. “Our defensive line was very strong; Caiman [Duggan] and Chico [Richard Murphy] had a great game, and Joel Harry, who has returned to Villa this year, proved to be a great addition to the back line. Overall, the three of them supported [goalkeeper] Matt [Liknes] and were able to keep the game as close as it was.”

Villa plays at home again this weekend, hosting Comox Valley United at Timberlane Park on Saturday, September 17. Kickoff is at 1:30 pm, and tickets ($5) and season’s passes ($40) will be available at the gate.

“We played Comox for an exhibition game on Labour Day, and lost 3-2, but we got a sneak preview of their playing style, and we’ll put that to good use this weekend,” said Leach. “We’ll be looking to start out the same way: get on the scoreboard early with a couple of goals, and then hold it through the game.”

Villa then heads out for its first road game of the season, visiting Lakehill FC in Victoria on Saturday, September 24. Lakehill topped the Division 1 standings last season.

“Given the way we ended last season, and the level of parity we’re seeing among the sides in Division 1 this year, we have some higher expectations for Villa for the upcoming season,” said McDonough. “We have added some great players to our roster, and if we can do what we did in the first half of our game against Westcastle for a full 90 minutes, we’ll be able to get good results against any team in the league.”