Cowichan clashes with Nanaimo Friday in a powerhouse battle
Cowichan LMG Pringle continues to lead Div. 1 of the Island Soccer League after recording its sixth straight victory but Friday will bring the team's toughest test of the young season.
"It's a battle for first place,'' said Cowichan coach Glen Martin, as his team takes on Nanaimo United Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Sherman Road Park's Bill Keserich Field.
Cowichan defeated Salt Spring Island 4-0 Saturday at the Ladysmith Turf and now has 22 goals for and just two against and 18 points. Close behind at 5-1 is Nanaimo United with a slightly less productive offence of 10 goals scored and five against with 15 points.
The 10-team league is already clearly split into a top five and bottom five. There is a wide nine-point margin between fifth and sixth place.
Cowichan and Nanaimo are well-entrenched in the top five and the game will give the rivals a clear shot at upstaging the other.
Cowichan jumped on Salt Spring with a goal from Kevin Brown, who's actually from Salt Spring, on a nice shot at 14 minutes and a hard shot to the bottom corner for a goal at 21 minutes by last year's leading scorer Ryan Andre for a 2-0 lead at the half.
A goal by Dan Citra padded the margin 18 minutes into the second half.
"That took the pressure off,'' said Martin. "We were outplaying them quite well.''
Cowichan maintained control throughout the game on the wider pitch.
"They stayed compact,'' said Martin. "We kept the ball and went at them.''
Andre added another marker, his fifth of the season, 35 minutes into the second half to round out the scoring.
Goalkeeper Joel Wilson registered his fourth shutout in six games. George Horne, who played a strong game at left back for 90 minutes, was the man of the match for Cowichan.
It was a clean game with no unnecessary rough stuff. Citra was issued the lone yellow card of the game.