The BC Provincial Cup quarter finals get underway tonight, with some tasty looking match ups set to be played out over the next three days.
Vancouver Thunderbirds finally clinched their quarter final berth on Wednesday evening with a hard fought 2-0 win in their replayed match with FVSL side Westcoast FC Selects.
A Gagan Dosanjh penalty and a great individual goal from Greg Smith saw the Thunderbirds advance to a meeting with VMSL champions Columbus FC on Saturday.
After the original match was abandoned on Friday night, when the floodlights went out during the second period of extra time, BC Soccer moved the replayed game to Thunderbird Stadium. Both teams had their chances but Vancouver ran out deserved winners in the end.
The match started with end to end action and Vancouver had the first real chance of the game six minutes in when Cousens brought a good save out of Alex Andrews in the Westcoast goal.
The visitors responded immediately and nearly played in Jonathan Craig but Thunderbirds keeper Luke O’Shea was quickly out and he set up a Vancouver attack which saw Andrews called into action again, making a fine diving save to keep out a Gagan Dosanjh shot.
Andrews saved his team again in the 16th minute. A corner was nodded on to Paul Clerc at the back post. The defender rose well but Andrews brought out a great save to turn away his goalbound header.
Dosanjh brought out a solid stop from Andrews at his near post just past the half hour mark and despite some half chances from both sides, the teams went into the half still level.
The Thunderbirds came out all guns blazing to start the second.
Dosanjh sent in a dangerous ball across the face of the goal in the opening seconds, but with no takers. Two minutes later, his Whitecaps PDL teammate, Reynold Stewart, ran through the Westcoast defence, took a little touch to control but Andrews was again up to the task.
The parity was to remain for just five minutes of the second half.
The referee was left with no alternative but to point to the spot after a blatant shirt pull on Cousens in the box. Thunderbirds captain Dosanjh stepped up to drill the ball home and give the home side the lead.
Westcoast almost levelled immediately when Chris Jarvie almost played in Daniel Le page but a Vancouver defender just managed to get a last ditch foot on the ball otherwise the Selects looked likely to score.
The Thunderbirds made it two just past the hour mark.
Greg Smith was put through on the right and sprinted clear of the Westcoast defence before hitting a perfect finish into the postage stamp corner from 12 yards out, giving Andrews no chance.
Westcoast had a great chance to pull one back in the 66th minute when Le Page
could only fire a low Dan Hill cross over from the edge of the six yard box, after some good pressure following a quick breakaway.
Vancouver should have killed the game off a contest three minutes later. the Thunderbirds won a string of corners on the left and Steve Johnson somehow managed to head over an Alex Orasa cross from under the bar when it looked easier to score.
Two minutes later Milad Mehrabi was played in for Vancouver but he lost control as he tried to round the keeper.
Westcoast pushed to try and get back into the match and put the Thunderbirds under a bit of pressure but they were only able to carve out a couple of half chances which came to nothing.
The Tbirds almost grabbed a third in stoppage time when the rattled the side netting.
Vancouver carried the play for much of the match and were certainly deserved of their win over the two matches. Westcoast played better in this game, after getting their second chance, but there only really looked like being one winner in the tie.
You can see some highlights of the match below:
The Thunderbirds now move on to play VMSL Champions Columbus FC in the quarter final.
The game will be played at 4.15pm on Saturday at the south turf at Memorial Park. We’ll be there for what should be a cracking game, along with a couple of over quarter final games over the weekend.
The ‘B’ Cup action kicks off at 7.15pm at Andy Livingstone Park tonight when two VMSL Division 2 champions, Ajyal Tigers and Sarajevo FC, battle it out for a place in the semis.
We’ll be at this game along with another three or four others over the course of the weekend.
There are also two Masters quarter finals being played on Friday, with VMSL side PCOV taking on Coastal FC Peace Arch from the FVSL at Memorial Park south turf (7.15pm kick off) and PoCo Castilians taking on Sapperton Rovers in an all VMSL clash at Gates Turf, Port Coquitlam, with a 7.30pm kick off.
You can find the full weekend’s fixtures, with venues and times, HERE.