By: David Conlin

VICTORIA, BC – Callum Montgomery celebrated his birthday with the opening goal in the seventh minute and the Victoria Highlanders didn’t look back on Sunday, picking up a 4-1 victory over Lane United FC in their Premier Development League (PDL) home opener at Centennial Stadium.

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Victoria exploded for three goals in the first half on efforts from Montgomery, Owen Pearce and Andrew Ofosu. Isma Fernandez got Lane United on the board in the 62nd minute but it was too little too late for the visitors.

Blair Sturrock sealed the deal for the home team with a strike in the 81st minute.

“I had an expectation that we would be a much improved team over last year, and that’s not to dump on last year’s team,” said Highlanders head coach Dave Dew of his team’s strong start to the season on Sunday.

“Certainly with the international players that we’ve brought in from the U.S. and England and North Ireland and Japan along with our homegrown talent, I knew we were going to be another cut above.”

The win moves Victoria to 1-0-0 on the young season while Lane United exit the weekend with a record of 1-0-1 after drawing TSS Rovers FC 2-2 on Friday.

Montgomery didn’t waste any time getting Victoria on the board in the first half, capitalizing on a free kick under ten minutes into the match. The defender fired a bullet past Lane United keeper Ben Willis to put the Highlanders up just two minutes before Owen Pearce made the score 2-0 with a strike of his own.

Willis made a few excellent saves in the first half, two of which came on Highlanders’ forward Andrew Ofosu. But Ofosu got the best of Willis in the in the 35th minute, making a nice move in tight before slipping the ball past the goalkeeper.

The explosive first half from the Highlanders, followed by a strong second, was evidence of a team that’s gelling well, despite not spending much time together.

“We’ve seen a little bit of that in training,” said Dew of the newfound team chemistry. “The English boys came in Friday night when we had the ticket launch event at the Strathcona Hotel and they got along with everybody really well.”

Goalkeeper Simon Norgrove picked up the win for the Highlanders, who will now wait 12 days before hitting the pitch again against Sounders FC U23 at home. It’s a break that Dew and his team aren’t going to complain about.

“I think the good thing is that we’ve only had one exhibition game and now that game let everybody settle down a bit—now we’ve got 12 days before the next game to get training and really solidify some things,” said Dew. “The good thing is that there’s lots of information we took down we can use in training.”

Tickets for the May 26th match at Centennial Stadium can be purchased here. Kick off is at 7:00 p.m. as the Highlanders welcome a tough Seattle opponent to town. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.