Highlanders F.C. wasted little time getting Khalsa Sporting Club’s attention at Royal Athletic Park on Saturday afternoon.
The visiting club, from Port Coquitlam, travelled with just one extra body and was forced to substitute David Malamura within the first six minutes as he pulled a hamstring shortly into the Pacific Coast Soccer League matchup.
The Highlanders then added insult to the injury with a comfortable 4-1 victory on a sunny, warm afternoon in which the hosts built up a 3-0 lead by the halfway mark. It could have been much worse for Khalsa as Victoria had plenty of chances.
“It was a really good performance, we got in behind them constantly and really could have scored more,” Highlanders head coach Dave Dew said. “At the end of the day, we got the three in the half and I’ll take the four [in total].”
The Highlanders pushed the visitors early as Calum Montgomery headed an excellent cross from Patrick Nelson over the bar just a few minutes in and Cam Hundal, a thorn in Khalsa’s side all afternoon, had a chance deflected wide.
Khalsa was forced to swallow their one and only substitution and Nelson then struck on a gorgeous feed from Hundal 13 minutes in.
Craig Gorman also had a great opportunity shortly afterward, before Nelson collected his second of the game 20 minutes in and the Highlanders were off to the races, much to the delight of the small, but boisterous crowd.
“Cam had a huge impact in the game,” said Dew, who gladly added the University of Victoria midfielder as he had just returned from his home in Terrace. “He was fantastic, especially considering he hasn’t touched a ball in two months.”
Keevan Webb made it 3-0 to the Highlanders in the 33rd minute and it remained that way until half-time.
Hundal made it 4-0 in the 65th minute before Khalsa struck late with a goal from Anthony Dinicolo, the first to beat keeper Noah Pawlowski after three straight away shutouts.
“We made a couple of defensive lapses,” Dew said.
“But I’m really pleased with the effort and now we get almost 24 hours to rest.”
The Highlanders, who improve to 6-4-1, will face the visiting Vancouver Thunderbirds today at 2 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park. The T-Birds tied 1-1 with the Mid Isle Mariners on Saturday afternoon.