CORNER BROOK It’s been said familiarity breeds contempt.
At this point, that would be cool with the Sorrento Tactics FC, as long as it produced a few goals too.
Thanks to a second-half strike from Scott Wayson, the West Side Monarchs were the latest team to take advantage of the Tactics’ punchless offence, as they cruised to a 1-0 victory in Corner Brook Molson Senior Men’s Soccer League action Tuesday night at the Wellington Street Sports Complex.
In four games this season, the Tactics (0-4-0) have been blanked three times. Their lone goal on the year so far was scored on a free kick by their usual starting goalkeeper Albert Specker, who has actually only played two of the four contests to date.
Monarchs keeper Steve Vardy conceded he wasn’t tested too much in the first half of his clean-sheet performance, but he attributed that mainly to strong defensive play by his defensive line. Once the second half started, he felt the Tactics began to turn up the pressure a little more.
“They started pressing and got a couple of chances, but they just got unlucky,” he said. “I just don’t think they’ve put it together yet, because they’re a strong team and they work hard.
“Every year they usually come through eventually and start to score when they need to score.”
Not that the Monarchs (1-2-1) have been very intimidating either — this was their first victory of the season and it wasn’t exactly of the convincing variety.
Still, a win is a win and it does come on the heels of a strong showing at the Spring Invitational kick-off tournament that saw them lose in the final to the Health and Performance Hawks.
“We had a bit of a rough start to the year, but then we had a great kick-off tournament,” Vardy said. “I think this is kind of the real start for the Monarchs now and hopefully it continues for the rest of the year.”
Over by the Tactics bench, there’s no sense at all that this is a team in turmoil. They remain unfazed by the steady string of zeroes on the scoreboard and the big zero in their win column.
“We’re known to be slow starters, but strong finishers,” said defender Steve Huxter. “We’re getting a few chances, but unfortunately we’re just not putting the ball in the back of the net right now. That will come throughout the season.”
The team is holding the double-edged sword of having new players to fill their roster this year, but also having to adjust to the tendencies of those players.
“We’re still getting used to everybody,” Huxter said. “When you’re getting familiar with new players, you don’t know where they’re going sometimes or where they’re used to being, so it takes some time.”
As for Specker, the veteran goalkeeper provides a steady presence for a somewhat inexperienced roster and his absence has been felt the past two games. Adam Anderson and Robert Wheeler shared goalkeeping duties on Monday night, playing the first and second halves, respectively.
“Most of the year he’ll be available, it was just work commitments the last couple of games,” said Huxter. “Adam played excellent for us and so did Robert. The boys both stepped up, as I knew they would.”
As amicable as the game sounds, it wasn’t without fire. Patrick Fewer of the Monarchs and Lance Ereaut of the Tactics were ejected by referee Craig Fitzpatrick for serious foul plays in the 74th minute. They will both be forced to sit out their next scheduled game.
Likewise, the Tactics, as calm, cool and collected as they appear, are still looking skyward, wondering when they’ll be the ones to not only score, but win.
“It’d be nice to get a win under the belt,” Huxter acknowledged. “Just for confidence more than anything.”