By Woodard, Dale on September 11, 2017.
Chalk up an early-season tough win for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team.
The Kodiaks edged the Lakeland College Rustlers 2-1 during Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference action Sunday afternoon at the Servus Sports Centre.
The win wraps up a 2-0, six-point weekend and start to the regular season for the Kodiaks following a 3-0 blanking of the Red Deer Kings Saturday afternoon, but the win didn’t come without a late push from the Kodiaks as well as a numbers game for the hosts as Lethbridge’s Tyler Bolen was red carded for his second unsportsmanlike yellow card in the 86th minute.
However, goals from Jimmy Bukura – his second in as many games – and the eventual game-winner from Brayden Jetten proved enough to salt the win.
At the other end, Kodiaks goaltender Kohl Wandyka made a key stop off a Rustlers rush in the dying minutes to keep his team’s lead intact.
“I don’t think we played our best,” said Kodiaks head coach Sean Carey. “They pressured us hard and their tactics gave us a little bit of trouble at times, the long balls. But the guys persevered. They worked hard. We’re going to get these tough games and to come out with three points is huge. You want to win your home games in this league to give you a chance for conference finals. It’s one of those games where it was a grind for three points.”
Bukura opened the scoring just a little shy of the 31-minute mark, getting a header on a free kick from Peter Ntignee, but the Rustlers Mackenzie Longpre pulled Lakeland even a little under three minutes later.
The Kodiaks put the winner away in the 55th minute on another free kick that Jetten was able to get his head on.
“It was a free kick and a beautiful delivery,” said Carey. “(Ben Knight) put the ball in and (Jetten) came around back post and was left unmarked and it was a free header.”
Wandyka made three saves to earn the win.
“We came off the first half a little slow, we weren’t as great as we were,” said Jetten. “We knew we had to come out in the second half. So we got together at the intermission and came out and the midfield played well. The line and forwards played well and we controlled it. After that we got some bounces and a goal and withstood them. We got a red card at the end, but we kept our heads and our keeper played great. Overall it was great performance.”
The performance has given the Kodiaks a key 2-0 start to the season.
“All the games are huge, but it shows a lot of character with the boys,” said Carey. “They dug deep, even at the end when we were down to 10 men, you still saw guys hustling and hurrying and doing things for their teammates. Kudos to Lakeland, they came at us in the second half, but my boys have got character.”
Five yellow cards were handed out in Sunday’s game, four to the Kodiaks.
As a result of his red card, Bolen is suspended for one game and will miss Saturday’s game in Medicine Hat against the Rattlers.
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