Vernon Celtic are through to the Okanagan Men’s 35+ Soccer League semifinals after topping host Select Your Tickets 1-0 (5-4) in a penalty shootout thriller Monday night at Mission Fields in Kelowna.
The Celtic, who finished fourth at 9-7-2, showed up with a full squad and a tenacious attitude, and dominated the first half. Multiple chances were generated but the ball did not end in the net.
The second half was more balanced with both teams playing a high tempo and battling for every yard, leading to multiple yellow cards. Vernon fullbacks Dave Dobernigg and Volker Otto patrolled the 18-yard box, leaving no man unchecked.
Even during the shootout, there was little separating the teams. Ryan Sharpe, Bryan Schenker and Jesse Knight calmly converted on Celtic’s first three shots. Select Your Tickets’ fourth shooter struck the crossbar, while Celtics’ fourth man, Tim McGowan, put the pressure on by blasting a shot past the Kelowna keeper.
Chris Ovens showed no nerves in burying the winner.
Celtic now face the defending champs and league winners Penticton FC Monday in Kelowna.
In men’s 45+ league play under the lights Monday in Salmon Arm, host McIsaac and Co. got back on the winning track with a 3-1 win over Vernon’s Bosman Accounting.
Playing in driving rain on Salmon Arm Credit Union & Savings Sports Field, the 8-11-2 McIsaac crew was led by a pair of goals from Wolfang Bopp and a single from Dave Howes, all in the first half.
After the break, Bosman (4-17) replied when midfielder Ian Murphy buried a rebound from in tight after Stan Pavlov’s shot was blocked.
The Bugaboo’s Cafe Man of the Match for Bosman was keeper Guy Paulsen, who made several clutch saves. At the other end, keeper Al Bensmiller thwarted striker Kevin Mitchell on a late breakaway. He used his face to block a rocket rebound from 10 yards out by defender Gerry Geelkerken in first half.
Salmon Arm welcomed back Nigel Clack, who was on three weeks vacation, and was solid in the middle setting up his team’s last two goals.
On a dismal night on Marshall Field #5, Big O Tire/Turn-Key Ogopogos bowed 1-0 to Lake Country.
The hard-fought battle for fourth place was full of back-and-forth chances, with the slippery ball shanking off many boots.
The eventual winner came off a Lake Country corner by Andrew Martin that was headed into the corner pocket by Duane Mueller after he outmuscled two defenders.
The Ogopogos’ keeper left halfway through the second half after colliding with a Lake Country forward. 12-9 Big O also lost defender Leo Nadeau early with a calf pull.
Mike Powell nearly set up Roland Riedstra for the equalizer late in the game, but a Lake Country defender came sliding across to break up the play. Lake Country is 13-6-2.
In an all-Vernon battle on Marshall #1, the Leko PreCast Camels blanked the Silver Stars 2-0.
Brian Williamson opened the 16-4-1 Camels’ account in the second half. He collected a throw-in, wheeled up the left wing and caught the Stars’ keeper looking for the cross with a rocket to the short side.
Dan Zieske completed the offence with a chip shot over the keeper after taking a feed from Jeff Vest.
The Stars are 9-7-5.
Brandt’s Pub keeper Dave Gadd was the story of game as he backstopped his team to a 1-1 draw against North Country Appraisals at Parkinson Rec Fields in Kelowna.
Despite being outshot 25-1 and heavily outplayed, Brandt’s (4-16-1) took a 1-0 lead into the second half when Andy Miller connected with a postage stamp effort to the top corner from just outside the box. It was one for his Mum who had died the previous Wednesday.
In the second half, 10-6-5 North Country finally equalized when Will Kruiper deftly redirected a hard shot by Kent Molgat that was heading wide.
Brandt’s centre halves, Tony Overton and Mark Brown, turned in stellar performances, while Greg Bevandick was Man of the Match for North Country.
Rutland Spirit spooked Pushor Mitchell Advocates 2-0 at Parkinson Fields.
Richard Chapman and Roger Russelli handled the offence for the 4-16-1 Spirit. The Pushor crew fell to 5-14-2.