Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Things looked rather rosy early for Highlanders FC this afternoon at Royal Athletic Park. Warm sunshine, an enthusiastic crowd and an early two goal lead gave the impression things were going to be easy for the home team on our laid back Island in the Pacific. Things could be farther from the truth.
Head coach David Dew was not enthralled with how his team took their foot off the pedal in the opening half, allowing the visiting Tim Horton’s Pinnacles of Penticton to score an uncontested goal to narrow the margin 2:1 and give the Okanagan squad a sense of confidence. Whatever he said at the halftime intermission seemed to work, because a poised, motivated team seem to be back in the saddle in the second half and ran away with a 4:1 victory
Striker, Craig Gorman was the scoring star today with the bookend goals of the match scoring in the 8th minute and then completing the scoring with a sensational lateral header goal in the 78th minute. Local photographer, John Richardson captured the sequence as seen below.
Manny Gomez zig zagged through the middle to score the games second goal in the 10th minute. With many stoppages throughout the match, it was a quick restart in the 31st minute that caught the Highlander back line asleep at the wheel allowing Mitchell Popadynetz to go in alone and score on surprised Highlanders keeper, Noah Pawlowski. Pawlowski would shut the door on Penticton for the remainder of the match.
Highlanders looked to have scored the critical 3rd goal in the 52nd minute as Adam Ravenhill slotted a tic tac toe play from his right full back position. The goal was disallowed after the referee’s assistant conferred with the official on an offside infraction. Things really started to get chippy with multiple cautions in play. In the 68th minute, a Pinnacle player was sent off with a straight red card and two other cautions were handed out after a fracas in front of the grandstand. Penticton would be down to ten men, and this would be their undoing.
Andrew Ravenhill, the 6th year Highlander veteran made an attacking run from his left full back position, saving the ball from going over the byline and playing out front to McKenzie Cole who slotted into the net in the 76th minute. Then Gorman’s goal sealed the fate for the visitors.
Highlanders are back at it tomorrow with a 2pm kick off at Royal Athletic Park vs. the newest team in the Pacific Coast League, FC Tigers of Vancouver. The boys will be looking to pad on points to their league lead with their fourth consecutive home game.