Mariners continue push for first

June 14th, 2015

Mariners continue push for first

Pacific Coast Soccer League premier division team undefeated in weekend play

by Ross Armour / Daily News 
 

The Mid Isle Mariners kept up their push for the Pacific Coast Soccer League title with a draw and a win in back-to-back home games this past weekend. The Mariners tied 1-1 with the Vancouver Thunderbirds on Saturday at Merle Logan Field and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Khalsa Sporting Club on Sunday in Ladysmith. Blaze Roberts gave the home side the lead against the Thunderbirds with an excellent finish into the top corner just outside the box before Chris Merriman's men were pegged back late in the game. Merriman said he was content with that result and described the fixture as an end-to-end encounter. "In the last few games we've really found our form, although we lost it a bit towards the end of the Thunderbirds game," said Merriman. "But I was pleased with the way we battled back and have no complaints." The coach's positive spirit improved further the next day and he praised the resilience of midfielders Riley O'Neill and brother James who were able to control the midfield and help secure the three points. "We played better in that game," he said. "Khalsa are a really experienced team so the likes of Riley and James helped a lot."Taylor Arbour scored the Mariners' winning goal.The Mariners continue to sit in third place, three points behind second-place Victoria Highlanders with three games in hand. "We've still got to play Victoria twice and they're going to be important games for us," said Merriman, who wants his team to be more clinical in the weeks ahead. "We've been creating chances, but haven't been as clinical as I'd liked in finishing teams off. If we can get on top of that, then we'll reach higher levels and be able to put games away early on. We also haven't been playing through the midfield enough so we'll be working on that."We've got quality players in our midfield engine and we need to get them the ball more often."The Mariners are on the road this weekend and face the Kamloops Heat on Saturday before what Merriman says is a "massive game" Sunday versus league leaders Vancouver United - the only team to have beaten them so far this spring season.