The early season momentum from Iron Heart Vernon soccer club continued this week, after a 4-2 victory over the reigning 2022 North Okanagan Soccer League (NOSL) champions, the Salmon Arm Beer Badgers.
The highly contested game was played at a high pace, with both teams having high ambitions throughout the summer.
The defending champions started the game strong by scoring early and capitalizing on a lacklustre start from the home Vernon side.
Pressing Vernon high up the field and forcing a turnover in the final third of play, Dylan Abbott connected with brother, Logan who slotted the ball past Vernon goalkeeper Travis Beck.
Iron Heart would swiftly tie up the game, as Donovan Osterreicher made use of space behind the Salmon Arm defence, to feed striker Zero Kotani, who converted from just outside the 18 yard box.
Salmon Arm then went on the offensive, drawing a penalty kick in the 40th minute. Chad Forman calmly put past the ball to go up 2-1.
After halftime, Vernon upped their pace, eventually scoring the equalizer, off the foot of Abdel Fathallah. Iron Heart Captain Tom Stegemann made the most out of his team’s second half resurgence with a brilliant 34 yard free kick at 70 minutes that caught Fathallah arriving at the back post to tap in his second goal of the match.
With momentum building and their opponents on the run, Vernon looked to see out the game with a one goal lead and hopefully mark their first statement victory of the season. A late handball in the Salmon Arm box gave Vernon the chance to secure a brace. Fathallal slotted home the penalty to secure three points for the home side, capping off an impressive individual performance. A hat trick against last year’s reigning champions brings the striker’s goal tally to five throughout three league games.
Vernon now sits at 3-0-0, with a plus seven goal differential. Their undefeated start to the season will be tested this week, as the GM Outlaws from Salmon Arm come to town. Kick off is set for Wednesday, May 17.
More information can be found at northokanagansoccer.ca