Comox Valley United continued their quest for the Pearkes Challenge Cup with a 2-1 win Sunday over Gorge FC.
With the advantage of home field at Vanier, the local Vancouver Island Soccer League men’s side advanced to the cup quarter-finals at the expense of their fellow Div. 3B squad from Victoria.
For the first time in weeks United was pressured on the ball by a hungry Gorge team. Both teams battled to gain possession and momentum early.
In the 32nd minute, after a turnover, Gorge transitioned quickly to free up a streaking Yong Soo Byeon who put it past fearless goalkeeper Matt Beckett to give the visitors the lead.
That woke United up. The half ended with possession and play in Gorge’s end for the remaining 15 minutes but nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Comox Valley local ‘keeper Theo Terry kept the Gorge side with the lead.
In the 78th minute, Comox finally equalized with a cross from Phil Ludwig that Cam McIntosh easily headed into the back of the net. “I was at the right place at the right time; it was also a great ball,” said McIntosh, who extended his goal streak to two consecutive games.
In the 90th minute a free kick was awarded, giving Gorge a chance to end it in regulation. But the ball heading for the top corner was stopped by Beckett. Moments later another through ball sent Yong Soo on a breakaway, but keeper Beckett made sure Yong Soo did not get a shot off as he ran out to beat him for the ball.
The team called this the turning point. The game ended 1-1 in regulation; extra time was needed to decide a winner.
With a minute left in the first extra time half, Comox Valley’s press for the winning goal started from the back line as a ball was sent to forward Riley Murray. Murray beautifully flicked the ball to Nick Marinus who had no trouble placing his shot in the bottom corner of the net.
“We are stronger now after facing adversity and stepping up our game when we needed it the most,” a team spokesperson said.
The team is on the road to take on the Cordova Bay Red Barn Bobcats this Saturday, Feb. 23 in the cup quarter-finals. They will play this team at home in a few weeks with first place in the league up for grabs. “Between cup and league play, every game is meaningful. We have to keep winning to stay on top,” says captain Brian Gage.
THROW INS United (10-1-3) is third in Div. 3B while the Bobcats (10-1-4) are second … the teams tied 1-1 in Victoria in their only meeting so far this season … follow the team online at Facebook.com/CVUnitedSoccerMen …
– Comox Valley United