Powell River Villa earns first point in months

Soccer club still in hunt to remain in second division next season

By coming up with a 2-2 tie at home against Victoria West on Sunday, March 5, Powell River Villa earned a huge point as the Vancouver Island Soccer League season draws near to a close. It was the club’s first point since a tie last year on November 20.

Both Villa goals were scored by forward Liam Wirth, who is on permit from Vancouver Island University Mid-Isle Mariners U21. Behind 1-0, Wirth’s first goal came on a first half penalty kick. His second, in the second half, came off a corner kick.

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Three Mariners suited up for the game, including Wirth, Billy Bagiopoulos and Cole Senchar. Villa head coach Mario Paul said he is hoping all three players will be available for the final games of the regular season.

“The three combined helped fill some huge voids on our roster,” said Paul. “They expressed an interest in coming back, which is good for us, but nothing has been solidified.”

Villa has three games remaining and is battling with Nanaimo and Sooke to avoid relegation. Its remaining games are going to be extremely tough matches, said Paul.

“Hopefully, we have some healthy bodies,” he said. “A couple of the guys are staying out of the lineup intentionally so we can have them for the last two games.”

Ben Payne was missing from Villa’s roster on Sunday with a foot injury. Paul said Payne might be back for the last game, “if we’re lucky.”

Kye Taylor injured his hamstring and could return to the lineup this weekend against Cowichan United, while Dean Thorsell has one more game to sit out due to a three-game suspension.

Nanaimo United FC is ahead of the bunch at the bottom of the standings with nine points, followed by Villa with six and Fred Milne Park Rangers with five. The last place team will drop down to the third division for next season.

Villa’s final three games all take place at Timberlane Park. On Sunday, March 12, the top team in the division, Cowichan United, provides the opposition. The following weekend, Prospect Lake visits.

Whether or not Villa is relegated for next season could come down to its last game against Nanaimo on March 19.

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