Bragging rights for a league title in the Premier Men’s Division in the Pacific Coast Soccer League is being contested right down to the final week of the regular season. Highlanders FC are in the thick of the heated race for a playoff position with one game remaining in their schedule.
This past weekend, the men in black & gold earned four of a possible six points available to them with an away win in Penticton (4-1) Saturday evening; followed with a draw (2-2) in Surrey versus Khalsa Sporting Club, the following afternoon. The win and a draw positions Highlanders FC atop the league standings with 30 points from 15 games played. Vancouver FC are in second place with 29 points from 14 games and Mid Island Mariners are in third place with 26 points from 13 games. Khalsa Sporting Club, Vancouver Thunderbirds and Kamloops Heat all with games in hand are making this a dogfight to reach the playoffs.
In Saturday’s match, Highlanders FC socred three first half goals from Adam Ravenhill (5’); Cooper Barry (24’); and Tarnvir Bhandal (38’). They carried that through in the second half with Cam Hundal scoring in the 90th minute. Penticton took advantage of a defensive breakdown (58’) for their only counter in the 4-1 final score.
On Sunday, Khalsa converted on a late free kick to draw travel weary Highlanders 2-2. Highlanders kept the game scoreless in the first half; fell behind 0-1 on a Kule Kambere (63’) strike from 15 yards out; clawed back with two goals in a three minute window with a clever chip from the foot of Adam Almeida (75’) and short breakaway goal by Cam Hundal (78’), only to see their hopes of earning six travel points clutched from their grasp from Khalsa’s header goal by Milad Mehrabi (84’).
Head Coach, David Dew was appreciative of the effort put forth by the team. “We achieved the goal of giving ourselves a fighting chance for a playoff spot. Though it is not set yet with a game to go, the four pints out of six went a long way to securing a post season berth. We knew it was going to be a tough trip, and the guys really fought for everything.”
Highlanders will be scoreboard watching next weekend as the league table takes shape from the teams looking to earn points from their games in hand with first place Victoria. Highlanders will know next week what will be required of them to secure a playoff berth when they host Mid Island Mariners in their final home game, Sunday, July 19th at Royal Athletic Park, 2pm.
Tickets for the final home game along with Season Tickets for the 2016 season are available online at Select Your Tickets.