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Vancouver Island Soccer League: Powell River 2, Nanaimo 1

2-0 win puts local Vancouver Island Soccer League club in eighth place, out of Division 1 relegation zone

Powell River Villa defeated Nanaimo United FC 2-0 at Timberlane Park during a wet and windy Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) afternoon game on Saturday, January 21.

“It was a horrible day weather-wise, but it was worth standing in the rain for the result,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “The atmosphere on the field was excellent, and everyone worked hard for each other. We’re really happy with the overall performance.”

Villa opened the scoring with Jake Kenmuir finding the back of the net during the first minute of play.

“We came out strong from the kickoff, because we wanted to put them under pressure right away,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “We went straight into one of our set plays, which was a three-way passing play. Jake ended up with the ball and put it into the top right corner for a beautiful, quick goal.”

Villa kept the visitors scoreless for the rest of the first half, despite their increasing pressure. The second half continued with Villa meeting Nanaimo’s pressure, until Ori Fisher scored for Villa at 72 minutes.

“It was Ori’s first goal for Villa since he joined the team in November,” said Leach. “The development of the second goal by the whole front line and midfield and then the finishing by Ori was spectacular.”

Fisher’s goal was the last one scored in the game, and Villa goalkeeper Matt Liknes is now first in VISL Division 1 in shutouts following Saturday’s result.

“We were able to grind it out in sloppy conditions and worked hard, keeping passes together and playing well,” said Fisher, who was voted player of the game for Villa. “We have a phenomenal group of guys here, and everyone is having fun being on the field together.”

McDonough and Leach had high praise for both of the game’s goal scorers, as well as Liknes and the defensive line.

“Nick [Van’t Schip]Chico [Richard Murphy]James [Timothy]and Jacob [Duyvesteyn] were solid on the back line and didn’t let much get through,” said McDonough. “Griffin [Leach] and Russell [Pielle] in the midfield were outstanding and worked very hard to frustrate Nanaimo’s offensive efforts. And Kiran Hollmann Prichard had his best game so far when he came on in the second half.

“Everyone on the field put in a solid 90 minutes of effort, and that’s why we were able to get a win in this crucial part of the season.”

Villa is on the road to meet Victoria Highlanders this weekend before returning home for the first game of the Jackson Cup, scheduled for Saturday, February 4, at Timberlane. Villa’s first opponent is Division 2’s Saanich Fusion Bandits. Should Villa win, the next match will also be at home.

“We’ve usually drawn road games for the Jackson Cup, so it’s nice to get a first round game here,” said Leach. “We’ve also drawn home games up until the final. We’re going to take it one game at a time, but it’ll be fun to have Jackson Cup games at home this year, both for us and the fans.”

Kickoff for the first round of the Jackson Cup will be at 1:30 pm on Saturday, February 4. Tickets will be available at the gate.

“We love playing for the fans, and it’ll be great to open the Jackson Cup at home,” said Fisher. “We want to thank everyone for their support, and we’re going to keep working hard every game we play.”

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