The under-18 boys soccer team from Magnuson Ford Mariners FC got off to a terrific start at the national championship tournament, winning their first two games in Fredricton, N.B.
On Wednesday, the Mariners thumped the host Fundy United Vitos 6-0, and they followed that up with a 1-0 win over Winsloe-Charlottetown Royals, the Prince Edward Island representative, on Thursday.
In the opener, the Abby side broke open a close game with four goals after halftime. Daniel Molendijk led the way with a pair of goals, with Justin Sekhon,Trent Mayer, Simi Singh and Antony Urbano adding singles.
On Thursday, the Mariners battled both their PEI foes and the elements. Cold, windy conditions influenced the play to a great degree, but Abbotsford pulled out the victory when Simi Singh converted Andy Phillips’s cross into the box in the 65th minute.
“The wind was blowing the whole game, and it was a great equalizer,” Mariners head coach Alan Errington said. “It’s hard to play when the ball is being blown down the field the whole time.
“But we played quite well, really. There was never a danger of getting scored on.”
After blowing out the New Brunswick squad to open the national tourney, Errington felt it was good for his team to weather a close game against PEI.
“If we’d gone in and won 5-0 today, I think we might have been a bit cocky,” he said. “But now we’ve only won 1-0, and it’s a bit of a reality check. It reinforces that we can’t take anything for granted. We’ve got to perform every game.”
The Mariners continue pool play against Manitoba on Friday and against Quebec on Saturday. The winners of each of the two pools move on to the title game on Monday.