Beefed up with some provincial championship power, Ponoka men’s soccer team sailed easily past Stettler FC on Monday, Aug. 1 with a quite convincing score of 7-0, entering the last week of the Battle River Men’s Soccer League keeping their hopes high for at least one title at the end of the season.
With four players from the U18 boys team, Robert Wareham in defence, Hector Ibarra in the midfield, and Lewis McDowell and Jarret Henderson in the offensive line joining their ranks, Storm were never seriously challenged throughout the game at the west Lucas Heights field.
Despite their better dribbling and passing performance, Storm could not score for the first 20 minutes of the game. Although Ponoka side were awarded a penalty in the 15th minute when Eric Eischeid was brought down within the Stettler 18-yard box, a rather soft penalty kick by McDowell’s standards was easily saved by the visiting team’s goalie.
About five minutes later, Gurjit Sandhu opened the scoring for the hosts from very close range and then the hosts never looked back. Within three minutes of the first, Elzard Visscher scored the second one for the Storm and five minutes after that Eischeid undersigned a third and a fourth before the end of the first half.
In the second half, it was all Eischeid, who scored three more.
Much to their credit, visiting Stettler never dropped the game and kept attacking at the Storm goal despite having no substitutes and suffering from a few injuries. At one point a shot from just outside the 18-yard box hit the crossbar, an unlucky moment for the visitors.
Storm play three games this week to complete the regular season schedule.
With two forfeited games and one loss this season, league championship may well be out of reach for Storm FC but they can qualify for and win the league cup if they keep up Monday’s performance.