Powell River Villa scored their first at-home victory of the season on Saturday, February 15, with a 3-0 shutout against Mid Isle Mariners.
“Finally, at last, the fans have something to cheer about,” said Villa captain Richard Murphy. “All the support we get is brilliant. It’s pretty awesome when we can get the win and everyone is there.”
The win was a vital step toward Villa’s hopes to remain in Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 1 for next season. They are currently in the relegation zone, and the club’s final standing will depend on the outcome of its March 7 game against Cowichan FC, as well as the result of a match between Juan de Fuca All Flows and Bays United Liquor Plus on the same day.
“We’ve played very well recently, even the February 8 loss to Westcastle United,” said Villa head coach Chris McDonough. “When we have our regular team on the field, we can compete with the teams in this division, and we showed that this weekend against Mid Isle.”
The game started slowly, with an injury to Peter Kollar midway through the first half.
“When Peter was injured, we brought in Leo Head, a permitted player who had his first game with us this weekend,” said McDonough. “He came on in the midfield and played very well. Then at halftime, we switched around a few players’ positions, including moving Scott Sawchuk into the midfield. Both Scott and Leo were big parts of our first goal.”
At the half, the score was still 0-0, but the momentum was in Villa’s favour.
“We were a little slow to start because we had one or two lads who had been away from the team studying,” said Murphy. “After 15 or 20 minutes they got going and we built towards the half, and then all we did was tinker a little bit. We knew that if we kept doing what we were doing, we should get goals, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Villa’s first goal came at 53 minutes, when Murphy put a header into the net. Sawchuk scored the second goal at 68 minutes, capitalizing off the rebound of a Dean Thorsell shot on net. One minute later, James Timothy, another permitted player, put a hard shot past the Mariners keeper.
“The young players did great for us this game,” said McDonough. “Leo, James and Keaton Fougere all put in really good efforts and helped us get the result we did. Matt Liknes had the shutout and came up with a few big saves over the game, and Dean Thorsell also had a great game.”
Villa is back on the field Saturday, February 22, for the second round of the Sir John Jackson Cup, having received a bye in the first round. Villa will take on Vic West at 1:30 pm at Timberlane Park.
“We’re pretty evenly matched with Vic West,” said McDonough. “It should be an exciting game, and it’s nice to have Jackson Cup action here at home in Powell River.”