The last home game before the holiday break was far from Powell River Villa FC’s best performance this season, but the team still managed to eke out out a 1-0 win over Bays United and stay atop Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 2.
Timberlane Park field was slick on Saturday, December 1, and the crisp weather made the ball skip on many of the long passing attempts to attacking Villa forwards Caleb Vallance and Jake Kenmuir.
“Our passing wasn't the best,” said coach Chris McDonough. “We gave the ball away a lot more times than I'd like to see.”
On more than one occasion, breakout passes slipped out of reach, even with the speed Vallance and Kenmuir possess.
15-year-old Vallance was dangerous all afternoon. On the winning goal he slipped by Bays United defenders, moved in close to the 18-yard box and just cut the ball back to Richard Murphy, who slotted it into the top corner. The goal came in the dying minutes at the 83-minute mark.
McDonough said Murphy, who recently moved to Powell River from Ireland, was one of Villa’s better players on the field. Kenmuir, as always, was a scoring threat. Vallance showed some of his incredible promise and why Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy is so high on him. McDonough also had Marm Fortier, who has played for Villa in the past, on the roster.
Fans in attendance witnessed Tony Presedo playing in goal for the home team. A New Yorker who recently moved to Powell River, Presedo played in place of injured starter Matt Liknes.
“Matt's been injured the last couple of weeks so we picked up Tony Presedo, an experienced goalie who played a lot down in the United States at a pretty good level,” said McDonough. “He made some big saves to give us a clean sheet.”
In the past two weeks, McDonough has recruited three young Powell River players who play U21 on Vancouver Island, three other players were signed this week, and the coach is not done.
“One for sure is Powell River’s Niko Cristante, who has been playing at the University of Victoria,” said McDonough. “Getting someone at that level is a boost for us, especially after losing Kurtis Dennison.”
Dennison suffered a broken leg in Villa’s disastrous 5-0 loss to Juan de Fuca last weekend, the club’s worst of only three defeats so far this season.
After picking up three points from Saturday’s win, Villa has a tentative hold on first place with 25 points. Three teams are within striking distance, each with a game in hand.
Villa plays its last league game before the holiday break on the road against Nanaimo FC on Sunday, December 9.