Powell River Villa Soccer Club goes into weekend play in Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 2 still in first place with a slim two point lead in the standings, but that could easily change by Monday.
The team’s last scheduled home game, originally planned for Saturday, February 9, at Timberlane Field has been postponed due to weather and field conditions. The decision was made on Thursday, February 7, and as yet a new date has not been announced.
With teams holding games in hand over the final weeks of the season, there are five squads in the hunt for the two promotion spots. The top two teams at the end of the season will move up to Division 1 and there are a lot of different scenarios that will determine the outcome.
“It's going to come down to the last game of the season,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “We’re just going to focus on Gorge this weekend.”
On Saturday, February 2, Villa picked up three points in the standings with a 2-1 victory over Prospect Lakers in Victoria, the team’s 11th win.
Villa came out strong from the start when Jack Kenmuir on breakaway missed a shot just wide of the Lakers’ net.
The Lakers got on the scoreboard first off the rebound at the two-minute mark on a shot from 20 yards out that Villa keeper Matt Liknes made an initial save on.
“We were just caught sleeping a little bit at the start of the game,” said McDonough. “We had some new players. It took us a little while to gel.”
The turning point was when a Lakers player was red-carded at the end of the first half and Villa went up a man.
In the second half, Villa controlled the game and pressed the play.
At the 65-minute mark, Mark Fortier suffered a bad injury, breaking his leg going in on the Lakers’ keeper and getting a yellow card on the play.
Villa poured it on in the final 20 minutes, with McDonough singling out Kenmuir, Caleb Valance and Richard Murphy for their strong play and creating a lot of chances.
The team has had a habit of scoring late and pulling out a win and it was Murphy who scored, his third of the season, and tied the game with about eight minutes remaining in regulation time.
In his debut with Villa at the beginning of December, the recent arrival from Ireland, scored the winning goal. Murphy said that goal helped to settle him in with Villa and the style of play in the VISL.
“The lads have made it really easy, like they're all a really good bunch. It wasn't that hard to slot in with them. I got on with everyone from the very start,” said Murphy.
The game winner against the Lakers was on an own-goal, with the ball bouncing off the Lakers’ keeper, hitting the post, then back at him, off his head and into the net. Kenmuir was credited with the goal, his seventh of the season.
Villa’s final home game of the season is against Gorge United FC, one of four teams to have beaten Villa this year, with a date to be announced.