Story by Jai Rakic, Photos by Erich Eichhorn – ISN
Victoria, BC (ISN) After a draw last weekend and a victory over Fraser Valley mid-week, the Highlanders continued their good form winning their last home game of the season, 1-0 against the North Sound Seawolves.
With only two games remaining in the PDL season and no chance of making the playoffs, the Highlanders are now just playing to save some face and also to prove to their fans that they belong in the competitive PDL league.
Over 1200 supporters packed Royal Athletic Park on Saturday night, to bid farewell to the Highlanders in their last home game of the season. The large crowd seemed to feed the Highlanders as they came out of the gates ready to go, creating several great scoring opportunities in the first five minutes.
Victoria dominated possession in the first fifteen minutes, setting Sasa Plavsic up with several opportunities in front of goal but Plavsic was unable to finish. It looked as if Thomas Mallette had opened up the scoring for the Highlanders in the 20th minutes, only to be called back for offside.
North Sound found their feet after twenty minutes, managing to force the Highlanders on the defensive more than once, unfortunately for the Seawolves they couldn’t convert their chances into goals. The score was tied 0-0 at the break.
Cowichan alumni and current Highlander defender Kevan Brown feels a little Seal Wolve pressure clearing the ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Both teams made several substitutions during the break, which managed to pay dividends for the Highlanders in the 60th minute, when two of their substitutes combined to open the scoring for Victoria. Ash Burbeary crossed the ball, finding Jordan Hughes just inside the area, where Hughes volleyed the ball into the back of the Seawolves net. Victoria Highlanders lead the North Sound Seawolves 1-0.
Hughes goal would be the only one of the night, as Highlanders goalkeeper Elliott Mitrou made several great saves to preserve his side’s lead.
With only one game remaining the Highlanders are out of contention for a playoff spot, but can hold their heads high after a strong finish to the season. Victoria fans will expect their side to be even stronger next season and there’s no doubt that the Highlanders will be, with the experience this young team has gained this year.
Second half substitution Josh Hughes would be the difference scoring the game’s only goal, is seen here celebrating with teammates after beating the goal keeper. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Highlanders finish their season going up against the Whitecaps in Vancouver on Sunday.
Highlander Jared Stephens takes control of the ball after a Sea Wolve clearing attempt – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )