Highlander Blair Sturrock and Timbers Player battle for position. (Photo Scott Paterson ISN)
Photos Scott Paterson Photography
(ISN) -VICTORIA – After failing to register a goal in consecutive matches, Victoria Highlanders FC returned home to capture a 3-1 victory over Portland Timbers U-23, June 7 in front of 1404 fans at Royal Athletic Park. The victory pushes Victoria back into second place in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division.
Cam Hundal, Blair Sturrock and Andrew Ravenhill all posted goals for the Highlanders, while Omar Holness converted a penalty kick for Portland. It was the first goal as Highlanders for both Hundal and Ravenhill, who both generated several quality chances throughout the game.
The Highlanders opened scoring quickly, as Sturrock fooled everyone by electing to cross the ball inside the attacking zone to Cameron Stokes instead of shooting it. Stokes neatly pushed the ball through to Hundal, who received the pass well before netting his first goal of the season in the third minute of play.
Timbers player out duals Cameron Stokes to head the ball forward. (Photo Scott Paterson ISN)
Hundal looked poised to increase Victoria’s lead on 15 minutes, dribbling through several defenders at the top of the box before firing a shot on net that was swallowed up by Luthy. Fullback Kevin Brown had another chance for Victoria, working the ball to the touch line before firing a low cross that was just a slightly off pace.
Portland had their chances to level the score as well, receiving a free-kick opportunity just outside of the attacking zone that they could not convert upon. A missed clear by the Highlanders’ defence almost proved costly as well, but no Timber attacker could jump on the ball as it momentarily sat untouched in the mouth of the goal.
Highlanders goalie fists the ball away from timbers players at the goalmouth. (Photo Scott Paterson ISN)
After coming close on a pair of chances, Sturrock converted a Tyler Hughes free kick, redirecting an arcing ball over top of the Portland ‘keeper for Victoria’s second goal of the game in the 43rd minute. Victoria would head into the half with a two-goal lead.
Both sides had opportunities to score early in the second half, with left back Ravenhill working the ball in deep before crossing a ball to the front that Luthy was able to shield Sturrock from. On the other end of the pitch, midfielder Alashe Fatai redirected a header just wide of the post.
Highlanders Kartar Hundal has a hands on experience. (Photo Scott Paterson ISN)
Minutes later, Ravenhill brought the ball back towards the attacking zone once again. With plenty of room in front of him to move, he struck a blast to the back of the net that gave his side a three-goal advantage.
Hopes of a clean sheet for ‘keeper Brandon Watson were erased when a penalty kick was awarded to Portland in the 85th minute of play. Omar Holness stepped up to the line and calmly slotted it home to cut the Highlanders lead to two.
Timbers Goalie has the ball go into the net after a head ball infront. (Photo Scott Paterson ISN)
The Highlanders Cheering section the loud and proud singing Lake Side Bouys. (phot Scott Paterson ISN)
Late substitute Wesley Barrett almost created magic once again for Victoria, placing a perfect cross Sturrock who nearly earned a brace, but Luthy was in great positioning to stop the ball.
Barretts cross was the last great chance for either side, as Portland was unable to make use of five additional minutes of stoppage time, dropping their second match in a row. The win is Victoria’s third of the season and moves them back into second-place in the division.
Next up, the Highlanders host the Puget Sound Gunners, June 14 at Royal Athletic Park. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.