The Top Notch United soccer team split the first two games in the Men’s Spring League.
On May 5 Top Notch was up against a rebuilt Comox Base team that has lost a few quality players due to postings this year. With new blood being injected in the team it will take time before they start to gel.
The first half saw the teams play a closely contested match until Top Notch started to get in a rhythm. From there they started to overwhelm the opposition in the possession game. Strong play down the left flank from Phil Ludwig produced many dangerous crosses into the box, a cross bar and a much needed goal. Distribution from the defensc of Doug Tinga (with his new Puma Kings) was the stick that stirred the coffee.
The second half saw much of the same as Top Notch continued their possession game. Near the end of the match the Top Notch defence got caught napping a couple of times but was bailed out by stellar goaltending by Lawrie Willis. The final whistle blew and Top Notch prevailed 4-0.
The second game was May 12 against the crosstown rivals Courtenay Imports. In dropping two pre-season games to the Imports it was important for Top Notch to come out strong.
The game was fast and furious until about 10n minutes in when Joe Butcher was left unmarked and slipped through on a semi- breakaway making it 1-0 Imports. The game was back and forth until a slip-up in the 18-yard box caused a loose ball, with Butcher potting his second of the game.
The second half saw much of the same with Top Notch trying to penetrate the Imports defence by using some outside overlaps from Lawrie Willis and Mike Rodgers. Leaving gaps in the defence an Import ball was played through that seemed to bounce off Butcher and find the far corner to make it 3-0.
With a sense of urgency Top notch started to press a little more and tried to create chances from their wide play. It finally paid off when the ball was sent out wide to Tom Butcher who put a lovely cross onto the streaking head of Matt Green who bulged the old onion bag with authority.
Late in the game a ball was played into (guess who) Joe Butcher on the top of the 18 who flicked the ball up and full volleyed it into the back of the net for an amazing highlight reel goal. As frustration started to mount Willis decided to not be outdone when he made a run into the box, took a nice square ball from Tom Butcher and scoring low side off the post.
Final score Joe Butcher (Courtenay Imports) 4 Top Notch United 2.