Penticton Pinnacles James Fraser (right) and Vancouver United FC Julian Gailiunas get tangled up at midfield in their final Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Men’s division match at Kings Park. The teams faced against in the PCSL playoffs with the Pinnacles losing 2-1. Mark Brett/Western News

Pinnacles lose with heads held high

Pinnacles push PCSL champs Vancouver United FC in tight loss

The Penticton Tim Hortons Pinnacles got some redemption in a losing effort.

After closing out the Pacific Coast Soccer League season with a 5-1 loss to regular season champs Vancouver United FC, the Pinnacles pushed the eventual playoff champs in a 2-1 decision on July 29 in Port Moody.

After the game, Vancouver United FC posted on their Twitter account that they earned their win “over an extremely resilient @pinnaclesFC squad.”

“I thought we played well, I thought we gave them a game,” said Pinnacles coach Ezra Cremers. “We really scared Vancouver United. At the end of the game we could have snuck another with a bit of luck.”

“I think that was probably one of our better games all season,” said Pinnacles player/assistant coach Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone, adding they had players missing due to personal commitments. “That field that we were playing on, we had won on that before. I think it suited our style of play quite well.”

James Fraser was the Pinnacles lone scorer in a match which Cremers said the referee was a factor in how he officiated. On one play, Fraser was taken down blatantly by the goalkeeper, but no call was made. Cremers believes had a call been made to award a penalty kick, that would have changed the complexion of the match.

“We got another PK in the second half, goalkeeper actually saved it and the referee called it back,” said Cremers. “James shot again and the keeper saved it again. There was no illegal activity so the play continued. James grabbed his own rebound for the only goal.”

The Pinnacles were disappointed to lose, however, in reflection of the season, Cremers said they felt they bounced back from last season’s dismal 0-10 finish. In 2015, the Pinnacles earned three wins, 12 losses and a draw in 16 games. The Pinnacles were able to gain respect within the league this season for their play.

“In our system, we were able to swing balls in the box,” said Cremers. “At the end of the day we kind of had a smirk on our face.”

The finish has created excitement for next season.

“It’s nice to see guys talking about next year,” said Seddon-Johnstone. “Last year nobody was talking about anything. It’s a good feeling to know that people are sort of thinking ahead. We saw how far we could go, how good we can be. I think that is a positive sign going forward.”

“As a coach, and again from the big picture, the direction from last year, to this year, what a great turnaround for the club,” said Cremers.