After finishing first, the North Enderby Timber were awarded a basic freebie against eighth-place Turn-Key Controls to open the North Okanagan Men’s Soccer League playoffs.
Instead, the Timber blew a 3-0 lead and needed an overtime goal to knock off the stubborn Turn-Key crew Wednesday night at MacDonald Park.
What seemed like a mismatch on paper proved to be one of the best games of the year. With a tough task ahead of them, Turn-Key came out firing, breaking through with two quick chances in the first 10 minutes.
NET (12-3-1) pushed back hard and opened the scoring off a flick by speedy Kyle Halvorson that keeper Greg Douma never had a chance on.
The high-flying Timber offence kept pressing and capitalized on two more Halvorson strikes to increase their lead to 3-0.
Turn-Key (5-7-4) failed to give up and turned the momentum in their favour with a combination of hard work, determination and teamwork.
Mid-season pick-up and trick-shot artist extraordinaire Marco Arnold scored another goal from the left hand end line as his cross, turned strike careened off keeper Danny Stein’s fingertips into the back of the net.
With some life before the half, and an inspiring half-time speech by player-turned-coach Taylor Horsting, Turn-Key kept turning up the intensity.
Brendan Love registered a lovely goal as he nailed a rebound through traffic off the crossbar and into the net. With the NET lead whittled down to one, striker Cam Egan went to work pestering the NET defensive line, managing to get in behind them and NET’s Ross McDonald had no choice but to take him down in the box.
Specialist Evan Moore stepped up to the dot and made no mistake as he fired a laser into the empty net, giving birthday boy Egan a special 26th birthday present. Moore’s goal saw an eruption from the sideline as the countless fans of the Control squad could smell an upset.
Extra time brought even more drama as two 10-minute halves had to be played to determine a winner. Building off the comeback, Turn-Key pushed hard to send the #1 seeds home.
Chris Harris and Egan all had beautiful chances but none could find the back of the net. NET striker Brent Poulsen had a chance and took advantage of his opportunity as he had enough separation to sneak a ball past Douma’s out stretched fingers and give the Timbermen the win. Jobie Waughman set up the goal with a nice feed up the right wing.
Harris sent a 25-yard free kick over the bar just before the final whistle on a set piece.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys; they pushed NET more than any team has this year,” said Turn-Key manager Kyle Goodgrove. “Next year.”
Seventh-place Concept Physio of Vernon lost a wild 7-4 battle to second-place Courvas at Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union Sports Fields.
Courvas (8-4-4) started play with just nine men and Concept Physio (6-9-1) took advantage by going up 3-1 at the half on goals by Ben Osborn, Brian Moore and a great header by Mark Wasylyk.
Courvas got reinforcements and woke up in the second half and put it to Concept Physio, despite a goal by Brock Reim and an outstanding effort in net by Jeremy Phelan.
Winger Bentley Crowther hit a goalpost late that looked to be in and would have equalized, but the goal was waved off. Concept was without their star striker Enzo Paal.
Nation of Domination Eagle Homes of Salmon Arm stopped Vernon’s Monashee Surveying 3-0 in other quarterfinal action at Blackburn Park.
The game was scoreless until third-place Eagle Homes (9-6-1) busted loose with three goals in the final 20 minutes.
Sweeper Ryan Sharp was the Interior Bottle & Freight Man of the Match with a number of corker shots on net, one striking the crossbar. Central midfielders Kevin Shaw and Devon Marriott also sparked for the No. 6-seeded Surveyors (6-7-3).
The host fourth-place Revelstoke Stallions brushed back the shortstaffed fifth-place Davidson & Co. Dynamite 2-1 in the rail town.
In 45+ men’s league make-up play Wednesday night, Okanagan Spring Brewery extended their winning streak to four games by grounding Cantina’s 3-1 at Kettle Valley Park.
Roger Irving, Jeff Vest and Mike Lloyd, from Rick Price, handled the Spring offence. It was 3-0 at the half.
Irving made a run midway through the first half, and his centering pass was deflected in past keeper Andy Stevenson by Paul Milton of the Cantina’s to open the scoring. Vest made it 2-0 after Wayne Aaasen was taken down in the penalty area, and then just before the half ended, Lloyd on a breakaway, sent in by Asiago Man of the Match Price, made it 3-0.
Five minutes into the second half, Chris Reeves was given a red card after an altercation with Cantina midfielder Kit Kipnis. Stevenson, who moved into midfield in the second half, converted the penalty.
Kipnis was also the centre of attention when Jim McEwan earned a yellow card for taking a long run at him. The Brewers went to 8-9-2, while Cantina’s dipped to 3-14-2.