Coach Dave Dew added to his ‘Loyalty Rewards Program’ earning six points on 900 kilometers of travel this weekend. His Victoria Highlanders FC team came through in mid-season form earning shut out road victories in Kamloops (1:0) and Abbotsford (2:0). All six points desperately needed in keeping the Highlanders deadlocked at the top of the Pacific Coast Soccer League standings with Mid-Isle Mariners.
A 6pm kick-off was welcome respite for the travelling Highlanders as day time temperatures peaked over 30 degrees celcius for their Saturday encounter with the aptly named Kamloops Heat. Despite the elements, the Highlanders hard working effort in the opening half set the tone for their weekend success. Both teams traded chances in the opening 15 minutes, but nothing threatening. A penalty at the hour mark afforded Kamloops the opportunity of the match but was denied by Highlander keeper, Noah Pawlowski. Two minutes later, defender, Ryan Ashlee connected on a Parm Johal service from the corner, a header giving Victoria all they needed for the victory.
Sunday’s fixture in Abottsford found both teams playing on consecutive days after physical tests the previous day. The result was a sluggish start for both teams in the mid afternoon game. With humidity hovering deep in the Fraser Valley, the referees smartly stopped the match at 30 minutes giving both teams a hydration break. Highlanders carried the play following the time out, resulting in a 45th minute goal from another set play. This time Johal converting the corner taken by defender, Alexander Redpath. Coach Dew’s penchant for making timely substitutions, maintaing fresh legs paid off on this trip. Paddy Nelson, a late second half sub, scored minutes into his re-entrance into the match, receiving a clever flick on pass by Brian Im, giving the striker a clear break on goal, his left footer finding the waning net. That would conclude the successful trip, a well deserved victory. Final score, 2:0.
“I’m really pleased for the guys”, said Dew. “To come away with all six points, it’s especially satisfying to see us have our first two shut-outs… even better, away from home”.
It’s another away game this Saturday, June 6th as Highlanders FC tackle last place, FC Tigers at King George Turf field in Vancouver, 5pm kick-off.
Highlanders next home match is Saturday, June 13th vs. Khalsa Sporting Club, a 4pm kick-off at Royal Athletic Park.