Comox Valley United edged Penelakut United 4-3 in a high-scoring Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 3B tilt Oct. 29 on Penelakut Island.
“What a roller coaster game,” said Comox Valley coach Jerret Dickinson. “We were looking for our first away win, and Penelakut was looking for their first win of the season. Going into the game they were currently at 0-2-2 so we knew it was going to be a battle from start to finish.”
Dickinson said United went down with a small, Spartan squad of 13 players and ended the game with 11 standing due to battle fatigue. “Scotland’s very own Kevin Orr and Canada’s Josh Crawford were our only two casualties; they fought brilliantly,” the coach said.
Penelakut started strongly and just four minutes in they slid a ball past the keeper to make it a very early 1-0 game. “It happened so fast I don’t think we’d even started to sweat,” Dickinson said.
“The pace was then set. We had our chances early on as Alonzo Perez from a cross just missed the top shelf with a header. Blair Woods’ shot from the top of their six-yard-box took a funny bounce off his shin and went right over the net.”
Two great chances to capitalize early went for naught, and at the 19-minute mark Penelakut again took a great shot from just outside the 18 and placed it behind the keeper. “Nothing Jon Schmidt could have done,” Dickinson said.
“At 43 minutes of the first half and down 2-0, we needed an opportunity to get back into the game,” said Dickinson. It came when midfielder Dan May took a well-placed corner kick across Penelakut’s 18 yard box which newly acquired Jason DenOtter one-timed magically in the back of the net.
“We were now back in the game,” said Dickinson, adding the second half was much like the first, with lots of back-and-forth action.
It wasn’t until minute 53 while United was in Penelakut’s third of the field that defender Leandro DeSousa took a shot that made its way top left corner to tie the game at 2-2.
“DeSousa, originally from Brazil, celebrated in Brazilian style with a smile from ear to ear,” Dickinson noted.
Penelakut answered back in the 64th minute with another well-placed shot to make it a 3-2 game.
“At this point Penelakut had their 12th player on the pitch – their fans. They were out in numbers supporting their team, which we knew could be a factor,” Dickinson said.
With the clock ticking the visitors did not panic or let the score wear them down. “Our back line pressed at times and at minute 70 defender Cam MacIntosh took a cross-type shot that had a Shawn Tutin look to it – and wow, back of the net it went.
“The game was 3-3 with 20 minutes left to play. You could clearly see that neither team wanted to settle for a tie,” Dickinson said.
It wasn’t until minute 88 that striker Alonzo Perez technically beat two of their defenders in their own 18 only to be taken down by a third; a PK was awarded.
With fatigue setting in, hard-fought battles the whole game and no substitutions, CVUSC U16 coach #6 Jonny Craig got the call to take the shot.
“You could hear the grass grow it was so quiet and intense,” said Dickinson. “Jonny made no mistake and top right cornered the ball beautifully. The game ended in a 4-3 victory.
“Our game MVP was Jonny Craig. Call outs go to team Comox United for bouncing back after last week’s loss and battling with minimal Spartans,” Dickinson added.
Fifth-place Comox Valley (3-4-1) hit the road on Nov. 5 to take on first-place Mid-Isle Mariners (5-0-3).
In VISL Div. 1 action Oct. 29, Comox Valley United played to a 1-1 draw with Saanich Fusion. Brian Gage scored the United goal and Luke Phye was Comox Valley MVP.
Ninth-place United (0-5-2) will be looking to escape the Div. 1 cellar on Nov. 5 when they are away to eighth-place Cermaq (1-6-0).