A big VISL division 1 game last night at Oak Bay High School as Bays United Liquor Plus hosted Gorge FC.
Gorge was coming off a tough 4-1 loss vs VI Wave and Bays were coming off a cheeky 2-2 draw in Nanaimo. With Cowichan starting to pull away from the rest of the division, this was Bays chance to stay close and Gorge’s chance to keep pace. In the back of both teams’ mind – a Provincial Cup berth as the top 2 league finishers and 2 Jackson Cup Finalists were the only 4 teams guaranteed a spot in the BC Soccer tournament.
It was nice to see the field in perfect playing condition, and a decent night with no rain.
The game started out with Gorge almost capitalizing on a defensive give away at 3′ by a usually steady backline, Bays Keeper Elliot Mitrou was there to prevent an early goal. Bays then went the other way and had their opportunity to score, but simply ran out of room and could not get to the ball before it crossed the end line. Bays looked to open the scoring at 14′ as jersey #7…. Cody Fitzsimmons made a great run to find himself in the clear, he was unable to hit the net and shot wide. Cody proved to be a factor in the game – coming off a long term break, he looked motivated to play and produce. The next scoring chance at 18′ was from Gorge, as midfielder Jordie French looked to have chipped the Bays Keeper – but it was just over the bar.
Just before half time, it was Gorge who looked like were going to be on the board first as their striker Jon Shah was sent in all alone – the shot was just wide so half time came and it was scoreless. As the 2H started, it looked like super sub Jordie Hughes of Bays was playing a role in the opening goal. After being sent in alone and pushing the ball past the Keeper, he ran out of room and while he got to the ball before it crossed the end line, his service into the 6 yard box was not met by any other Bays player. And as happens so many times, a squandered opportunity at one end gets punished at the other. In an almost identical situation, this time the Bays keeper is able to get to the ball to attempt clearance, it ricochets off a Bays defender, and Jon Shah is able to finish to open the scoring at 60′. 1-0 for Gorge.
The next 8 minutes had quality chances at both ends. First, it was Gorge Keeper Iain Walker stopping Brandon Wallace, then Bays Keeper stopped Jon Shah from in close.
Bays then opened the scoring at 68′. Cody Fitzsimmons with some crafty work from the wing finds the back of the net and things are all equal again.
Bays had a chance to go ahead a few minutes later, but the Jordie Hughes volley attempt did not work out. At 80′, Gorge got the go ahead goal. An absolute beauty by Jon Shah as he gets his 2nd of the night. A tough angle, shot had to be perfect and it was. 2-1 for Gorge. Gorge looked to seal the deal at 88′ when Dominic Colontonio got the 3rd Gorge goal, but Bays answered right back with a goal by Brandon Wallace at 89′. The remaining minutes had a couple moments where you thought Bays might sneak out a draw again. the final play of the game had a Bays forward rips a shot from 13 yards out that just went wide. The referee blows the FT whistle and Gorge leaves the municipality of Oak Bay with a 3-2 win over Bays United.
Rumour has it that the respective mayors had a side bet on – the losing coach was to wear the winning coach’s team jersey …..that might be happening at 1550’s Pub Style Restaurant as we speak.
Gorge now sit 1 point behind Bays with a game in hand. Eyes will be on the Vic West game as they travel to Campbell River.