Impressive second half highlights Highlanders fourth win

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 June 15,2014(ISN) – VICTORIA – Victoria Highlanders FC captured their fourth win of the 2014 Premier Development League season, June 14, defeating Puget Sound Gunners 4-1 in front of 1378 fans at Royal Athletic Park. An impressive second half saw the home side scoring three unanswered goals en route to their second win in a row.

Scoring was spread across the roster for the Highlanders, who received a goal from Cam Hundal in the first half before Ryan Ashlee, Blair Sturrock and Ian Greedy added goals of their own in the second. Puget Sound’s Jeffery Rose had the lone goal for his side.

The Highlanders were dominant in the opening 15 minutes of play leading up to the first goal of the game, receiving several free kicks and corners. They were rewarded in the 16th minute, as a Tyler Hughes free kick found its way inside the six-yard box. A heads-up play by midfielder Manny Gomez found Hundal through a crowd before the midfielder deposited his second goal of the season.

Although continuing to manage the ball, the early-game pressure from Victoria dissipated save for a close header from Hundal that just went wide of the left post. Puget Sound’s equalizer came seemingly out of nowhere, as a quick break up the field by the Gunners ended with Rose drilling a half-volley past Watson in the 31st minute. Both sides headed into the half in a 1-1 draw.

Victoria opened strong in the second half with several more opportunities on offence. In the 53rd minute, Hundal dribbled through several defenders towards the net, forcing Puget Sound to kick it out of play and setting up yet another Highlanders corner. Hughes’ ensuing corner kick was redirected by teammate Riley O’Neill before finding Ashlee in front who headed it home to give Victoria the lead once again.

This time, the Highlanders did not take their foot off the gas, maintaining their pace and continuing to push into the attacking zone. Full back Andrew Ravenhill set up the Highlanders’ third goal of the match and arguably the evening’s prettiest goal as he crossed the ball from the touch line to a streaking Sturrock, who headed it home at top-speed in the 75th minute of play to make it 3-1.

A frustrated Puget Sound squad struggled to maintain possession and were on the receiving end of four cautions in the second half. Matters got worse for the Gunners in the 90th minute, when Ian Greedy was left wide open to slot home his first of the PDL season. Highlanders’ goalkeeper Brandon Watson’s night was made easy, facing just four shots through the entire match.

The victory pushes the Highlanders record to 4-2-2, two points back of division leading squad Kitsap Pumas. They now head out on the road for a pivotal two-game trip, facing Portland Timbers U-23 and Lane United, June 21-22. They return home June 28 to host Seattle Sounders U-23 at 7pm.

FINAL MATCH STATISTICS

06.14.2014: Royal Athletic Park— 7:00 p.m.
Attendance: – 1378

Victoria Highlanders 4 – Puget Sound Gunners FC 1

VHFC: Highlanders’ Starting XI: Watson (GK), An. Ravenhill, T. Hughes, Ashlee, Brown, O’Neill, Rowley, Gomez, Sturrock, Hundal, Basso

SUBS: Greedy (45′), J.Hughes (64′), W.Barrett (85′), Bhandal (85′)

Coach: Steve Simonson

PSG: Rogers (GK), Dodds, Cook, Miller, Duerksen, Eronemo, Hammond, Ordenana, Kasaka, Rose, Beasley

SUBS: Pavel (45′), Amundsen (64′), Smith (77′), Ochoa (90′)

Coach: Jimmy Ball

Booked
VHFC – None
PSG –Beasley (63′), Ordenana (63′), Pavel (76′), Dodds (86′)

Sent off
VHFC – None
PSG – None

Statistics VHFC PSG
Shots 13 9
Saves 3 4
Fouls 13 12
Corners 5 1
Offside 2 1

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