Andrew Stein, right, of Enderby Timber, and Neil McKechnie of the Salmon Arm Outlaws battle for a loose ball in NOSL semifinal play Wednesday night at MacDonald Park. (Kevin Mitchell/Morning Star)

Andrew Stein, right, of Enderby Timber, and Neil McKechnie of the Salmon Arm Outlaws battle for a loose ball in NOSL semifinal play Wednesday night at MacDonald Park. (Kevin Mitchell/Morning Star)

Poulsen pushes NET to Gibson Cup final

Striker scores five times in semifinal win over Salmon Arm Outlaws

Fatherhood hasn’t diminished super sniper Brent Poulsen’s moves on the soccer field any.

Well known for his multiple-goal games with North Enderby Timber over the last decade, Poulsen went bonkers with five snipes as the Timber booked their ticket to the Gibson Cup final with a 5-2 win over the Salmon Arm Outlaws under smoky skies Wednesday night at MacDonald Park.

The North Okanagan Soccer League (NOSL) regular-season champion Timber, who have captured a dozen Gibson Cups, will meet second-place Salmon Arm Auto Quest in Saturday’s championship match (5:30 p.m.) at MacDonald Park. Auto Quest advanced with a 4-3 overtime win over visiting Okanagan Geothermal Ltd (OKG) of Vernon Wednesday night.

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Poulsen, who welcomed a baby boy – Stetson – into his world almost a month ago, was dangerous every time he touched the ball from his striker spot.

Referee Steve Coombs had no sooner blown the whistle on the opening kick-off when Poulsen jumpstarted the NET offence from a Jesse Knight through ball, taking one touch to beat keeper Darcy Blair bottom corner.

Poulsen made it 2-0 in the 15th minute but the lead didn’t last long after a poor pass back from a Timber defender that got caught up in the long grass led to a breakaway by Ahmad Zakreet, who went far side on keeper Stefan Depner from 15 yards.

The Timber controlled possession in the middle of the park and some nifty passing from Andy Stein and Timber defender Ross Macdonald led to Macdonald sending in Poulsen, who chipped the charging Blair, who was soon after injured in a collision and replaced by fullback Cody Zimmer.

The fourth-place Outlaws made things interesting just before halftime when Stein fouled striker Pardeep Mann in the penalty box. Chad Clark calmly slotted home the PK.

Things slowed down in the second half with both teams sitting back in their respective ends. The Timber then displayed a perfect counterattack on an Outlaws’ corner. Ageless Jeff Nice carried the ball from his own 18 to half and then sent in Poulsen, who megged Zimmer from a sharp angle.

The Timber controlling possession in the last few minutes led to a foul near the corner flag. Danny Stein and Poulsen then executed a sweet short free-kick leading to Poulsen scoring the goal of the night on a left-footed shot from the edge of the box that curled like a comma as it went top corner, post and in.

Knight and big Menno Burnet, who bombed some accurate cross-field passes to the right flank all night, controlled the Timber backline, leading to minimal chances for the pushing Outlaws.

Shifty striker Jacob New, who has moves like Jagger, juked by a defender and buried a shot left corner at nine minutes of extra time to give Auto Quest their first appearance in the Gibson Cup.

OKG led 3-1 at one point, getting goals from Fabrice Fanfani, Mo Singogo on a PK and Scott Coulthard. OKG missed a glorious chance from gimme range to go up 4-1.

RELATED: Timber avenge Gibson Cup defeat


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