Despite an exceptional first half, Powell River Villa lost 3-1 to Vic West FC at Timberlane Park on Saturday, October 1.
“We started strong again with our phase one play, which is an aggressive attack for the first 10 minutes, and were able to score an early goal,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “We kept the lead and frustrated their efforts to equalize the game for the rest of the first half, and we had several chances to score again, though we were not able to capitalize on those for a bigger lead.”
Griffin Leach scored Villa’s goal at nine minutes in the first half of the Vancouver Island Soccer League match.
“We came out at the beginning to create pressure on Vic West, and Griffin was able to finish off the chance nicely for a great goal,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “He is playing well for us right now; it was his second goal in two games, and puts him into a three-way tie for top goal-scorer for the team so far this season.
“Matt [Liknes] in net was also a big part of us getting to halftime with the goal advantage; he made some great saves to keep us in the lead.”
The second half, however, belonged to Vic West. At 46 minutes, they scored their first goal of the game, followed by a second at 53 minutes and a third at 79 minutes.
“I feel like we were the better team in the first half, keeping possession more and having more opportunities,” said Jack Padgett, who plays for Villa. “I’m not sure what happened in the second half. Once they scored, we lost our momentum, and then we ended up in a negative state of mind. Villa thrives on positivity and encouragement, and that wasn’t present on the field in the second half.”
An incident between a spectator and players on the field also increased tensions during the second half of the game, which culminated in an altercation at the 95th minute in injury time between Villa captain Niko Cristante and Vic West goalkeeper Oleksandr Harapa, which resulted in both players receiving a red card and being sent off the field. In the Vancouver Island Soccer League, a red card is an automatic two-game suspension.
“It was a bit of a wild game with a lot of emotion,” said McDonough. “In the end, it just wasn’t our day.”
Villa travels to Victoria this weekend to face Gorge FC, and the team will be taking the opportunity to regroup.
“We played Gorge three times last season for a win, a loss and a draw,” said Leach. “Gorge is a stronger team this year than last year, but so are we. We’ll have several players away due to the Thanksgiving weekend and other reasons, but it will be a good opportunity for other players to get some game time.”
Villa returns to Timberlane on Saturday, October 15 to host Bays United Liquor Plus. Kickoff is at 1:30 pm, and tickets will be available at the gate.
“We are grateful to our fans for coming out and supporting us at each home game,” said Padgett. “This game wasn’t what Villa’s about; we’re about playing fair, winning games and trying our best. We’re going to learn from this as a team and build off it, and we’re looking forward to seeing our fans at the field in two weeks and giving them a good and entertaining game.”