Spartans score late to edge Cascades 2-1

UFV’s Parman Minhas (right) battles a TWU defender as they race fo the ball.

A late goal from Jacob Low lifted the Trinity Western Spartans past the UFV Cascades 2-1 in Canada West men’s soccer action on Friday evening in Langley.

The two local rivals had battled to a stalemate over the first 84 minutes of play, with TWU’s Domenic Poletto scoring in the eighth minute and UFV’s Andrew Peat equalizing in the 35th.

But in the 85th, Cody Fransen’s initial shot was deflected in the box, and Low pounced on the rebound and buried the game-winner from close range.

The result enabled the Spartans (6-1-4) to edge past the Cascades (6-3-1) for second place in the Pacific Division. The two teams renew hostilities on Sunday in Abbotsford (4 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).

“First half, we weren’t at the races – I think we were second-best,” said Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, whose squad was missing second-leading scorer Brady Weir due to injury. “But I think the second half was a lot more even. We created some chances and we were able to stifle them a little bit.

UFV’s Trevor Zanatta rises to connect with a header off a corner.

“It’s a tough place to come – you can see why teams come here and struggle. But we’ve had a lot of things go against us tonight. We’ve had to fight a little bit of adversity from different areas, and I’m proud of the boys for that. They stuck together when they could have bowed, and done what they can. It’s never nice to concede a goal that late on, but for the most part, we did well.”

Trailing for much of the first half after Poletto’s early goal, Parman Minhas showed his dynamic skillset, spearheading the counterattack that led to the equalizer. The Cascades’ sophomore forward intercepted a Spartan pass in UFV territory and made a long, zig-zagging run, eluding several TWU defenders along the way, before laying the ball off to Peat. The rookie forward blasted home his fourth goal of the campaign.

But it was for naught, as Low connected in the dying minutes to snap the Cascades’ three-game win streak.

The upside of the home-and-home schedule this weekend is that the Cascades get a rematch in short order, and on their home pitch.

“Obviously playing at home, we’ve been very good so far this season,” Lowndes said, alluding to his team’s 4-0-1 record at MRC Sports Complex. “We’ll try to make it difficult for them at home, just like they’ve made it difficult tonight for us.”

–  with files from Jack Nadelhoffer, TWU Athletics

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