Morning Star Staff
For the first time in four seasons, the Ian Gibson Cup has a new home.
Turn-Key Controls slayed their championship demons with a 3-2 victory over North Enderby Timber Wednesday night at a packed Greater Vernon Athletic Park.
After splitting the North Okanagan Soccer League season series and finishing with identical 15-1-2 records, it was just one goal that separated the long-time rivals in a great display of local talent in a league that spans from Revelstoke to Vernon.
The first 15 minutes saw the two squads feeling each other out and getting used to the faster turf surface with no real scoring chances and some good defending on both sides.
Thomas Pool opened the scoring for Turn-Key when he was found behind the NET defence on a brilliant through ball by Oben Tabe and he poked the ball past a charging NET keeper Danny Stein.
Play kept going back and forth in the central midfield in a great showdown between NET veterans Chris Ovens and Graham Ross and Turn-Key midfielders Tabe, Fabrice Fanfani and Preston Tucker with neither side able to break through the back four.
Turn-Key added to their lead close to half-time off a free kick in the NET zone as defender Bryce Paterson delivered a perfect ball onto the head of Preston Tucker, who looked like his UBCO Volleyball All-Canadian former self soaring above the NET defence to head home the 2-0 snipe.
NET thought they had answered when Brent Poulsen converted but the play was called back to what the Timber felt was a questionable offside call.
Turn-Key stunned the Timber going up 3-0 early in the second half when Nicholas Macdonald tapped in a goal-line scramble through the legs of Stein after some great work from Lucas Betschler and Conan Ackert to deliever a ball into the six-yard line.
Stein kept the Timber in the final shortly after, making the Total Restoration Save of the Game off a Fabrice Fanfani free kick that was destined for the top right corner before Stein made a diving fingertip save to keep the ball out.
The save seemed to energize the Timber squad, as veteran striker Brent Poulsen scored two goals in the final 10 minutes, leading to a frantic finish.
NET rookie Jeff Nice streaked down the wing and played a perfect low cross through two defenders to Poulsen, who calmly beat the outstretched keeper Greg Douma for the first NET tally.
The Timber made things interesting with only minutes left when Jesse Knight took a feed from Chris Ovens, broke through the defence and fired a shot that Douma saved but couldn’t control the rebound which fell right to a wide open Poulsen for the tap in.
The North Enderby Timber man of the match was shared by Stein for keeping the Timber in the game right until the end, and longtime stalwart Ovens.
“Playing at 50 per cent, he (Ovens) was a rock in the middle winning tough challenges all night in which hopefully wasn’t his last game in a Timber uniform after 20 seasons,” said Poulsen.
Added Poulsen: “The 20 man Turn Key roster which I thought would be a disadvantage over our 13-man roster turned out to be the opposite. We suffered a couple of key injuries but that’s no excuse; they wanted it more than we did. Congrats to Turn Key: they earned it this year.”
Turn-Key, after winning by forfeit over last-place Salmon Arm Outlaws, brushed back Courvas of the Shuswap 2-1 in Sunday semifinal action at MacDonald Park.