Comox Valley United lost 4-1 to the Victoria Highlanders on a stormy Saturday night at the Vanier turf field. Heading into the match, the two teams had held a share of third place in the Vancouver Island Soccer League first division standings.
“Unfortunately the conditions were very difficult for all participants with sideways rain and 70 km/h winds, but that’s west coast footy for you,” CVU coach Stefan Szkwarek said.
The home side was “on the front foot” for the first 10-15 minutes, generating several good chances. But the Highlanders scored on their first foray into the CVU half due to a player slipping in the box.
About 10 minutes later, CVU thought they had equalized but the goal was ruled out by an offside call.
“Pouring salt into the wound, the Highlanders scored almost immediately after off of another mistake as our keeper couldn’t secure a shot, just their second of the game, and they scored off the rebound,” Szkwarek said.
Undeterred, United started strong in the second half and closed the gap to 2-1 on a goal by Grayson Chalifoux. With about 25 minutes remaining, Szkwarek said there was a moment that could have changed the game in CVU’s favour when a Highlander, already on a yellow card, clipped a fullback from behind, which he felt merited a second booking and a sending off.
“It wasn’t meant to be and he was immediately subbed off to avoid a red. In a cruel twist of fate, about five minutes later, one of our own players saw their second yellow and we were down to 10 men.”
The Highlanders were then able to generate chances as CVU pushed for an equalizer. The visitors potted two late goals on the counter.
“Despite the loss, the team played very well and for me, the scoreline wasn’t indicative of how the game went,” Szkwarek said. “This said, we made some fatal mistakes despite the good performance, which we will have to learn from and improve on for the return match in two weeks time.”
The two teams meet up again Nov. 28 in Victoria.