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  • Writer's pictureJason Coates

Harbourside FC Island Derby Matches

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

By HFC Youth Writers Kayla and Milana

Electric atmosphere Friday night when many excited fans took advantage of the perfect weather to watch Nanaimo’s own Harbourside FC face off against Island rivals, the Victoria Highlanders. Passionate Harbourside FC fans gathered at Q'unq'inuqwstuxw stadium to cheer on our women’s and men’s teams. If you missed the action, here’s a quick rundown of what happened.

Women’s team battles for a draw

Photo taken by Alison Wassermann

The game started strong, with both teams pushing hard. Despite warm conditions, Harbourside played as rigorously as ever. Later in the first half, Harbourside earned a corner kick and the teams began to play harder. Harbourside FC fans were on their feet cheering when, in the 14th minute of play, Ava Alexander #6 scored a goal. The Island Derby was off to an exciting start!

Friday's game was Cassidy Byrne's #2 first game since October after a few hard months of rehabilitation for an injury. “I just want her to have fun!,” said Wendy Byrnes, Cassidy's mom.

The second half started with Highlanders pushing back at Harbourside FC, but the team met them with the same intensity. Harbourside FC goalkeeper Danielle Robertson #1 made some impressive saves, which made the fans go crazy.

At full-time the referee added 3 minutes of extra time, and in the final minutes, the Highlanders scored, ending the game in a tie.

“The game was a learning curve,” said player Karen Battie. The team spoke highly of their coach, Bobbie Taylor, and said that they are enjoying growing together as players and as a team. The team worked well together and have learned what they need to succeed in the future.

As for the fans, they showed support for the women's team with noise and color and created an exciting atmosphere.

Men’s Team falls 1-0 after a fierce battle

Photo taken by Matt Carter

Both teams came out strong in the first half, not holding anything back. “This will be a big game for us,” said Harbourside FC’s captain, Matt Mehrassa #9. “Highlanders and Harbourside both need a win to get distance from each other in the standings. Throughout this season, we have seen so much growth from both teams.”

“Some Harbourside FC players played for Highlander last year, so this will be an interesting game,” he added, earning chuckles from his teammates.

As the game progressed, Highlanders scored their first goal in the tenth minute. Harbourside FC pushed back hard, creating exciting scoring opportunities.

Indignation in the stands rose as two Highlander players received yellow cards all in the first half.

The second half kicked off with even greater intensity, with neither team letting anything slip through the cracks. Highlanders pushed hard in Harbourside’s defensive zone all through the second half as Harbourside held their own with excellent defense. Despite the Highlanders relentless attack, Harbourside played strong and composed, creating some exciting through balls for their forwards as five minutes were added to the second half. As the game neared its end, the tension in the stands and on the field was sky-high as the players brutally battled for each ball and play. Unfortunately, the whistle blew leaving the final score 1-0 for the Highlanders.

Harbourside FC players suit up again to play the Whitecaps FC today, May 24, at Q'unq'inuqwstuxw stadium. Buy tickets now because you don’t want to miss the action! If you can’t make it, stay updated on HFC’s Instagram or Twitter, or stream the game live on the League1BC Youtube Channel. (Links found on their social media platforms) Until then, keep making noise for our very own Harbouside FC. #ForTheHarbour.

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