Div 2 Match 5 – Cliff Cobra FC

Kickoff: 4:00 pm Saturday, October 8th at Point Grey Turf

For those involved with Rino’s Div 2 team fortunate enough to have known Andrew Wade today was an emotional and moving day. Having spent the morning celebrating the life of a wonderful human being we gathered ourselves in the afternoon to do what Andrew did so well – play our hearts out on the football pitch.

Having struggled to find the back of the net thus far this season Rino’s opted for an attacking 4 – 3 – 3 formation to start this match. Although we were largely in control, our first half performance was inconsistent and we were guilty of playing panicky and rushed football. In fact it was Cliff who might have opened the scoring on the counter attack when their striker somehow blundered his way through our defence only to scupper his shot hopelessly wide.

Tempers were heightened as Cliff’s defensive tactics continued to frustrate the Rino’s players. Resultantly we seemed to play down to their level and created few chances apart from a decent penalty shout from Shawn as he was clumsily bundled over in the penalty area approaching half time.

Rino’s were a bit flat to start the second half , yet to our credit we persevered and began to take control of the match. Substitutions up front and in midfield brought some fresh energy and while Greg had put in his usual hard working shift, the introduction of Francois ultimately led to Rino’s opening goal 20 minutes from time.

Following slick interplay down the left flank Francois delivered the killer through ball to find the run of yours truly. I just about managed to stay onside before firing the ball past the keeper with a left-footed strike from 10 yards.

Having found the elusive first goal Rino’s continued to dominate and led 2-0 shortly after. Despite being gifted extra time to prepare to defend a corner kick while the referee was distracted by the untimely intrusion of a Cliff player’s young child

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(who had also earlier intruded to stop Cliff from taking a quick throw in) the Cliff players still managed to leave myself unmarked at the top corner of the 18. Ryan delivered a short pass and, having not been closed down, I proceeded to strike an ‘unstoppable’ right-footed drive into the top right hand corner of the net. To be honest it largely resembled Adam Johnson’s recent stunner for Manchester City against Blackburn Rovers (but I’m super modest of course).

As with my first goal I celebrated with a tribute to the sky where #11 Wadey was watching today and providing me with inspiration.

The fight was surely out of Cliff at this stage and Rino’s leading scorer from last season took advantage to get off the mark and wrap up the 3 points. Using his fantastic speed Tim broke in on goal, following another excellent Francois pass, and poked past the dismayed keeper.

Cliff’s afternoon was dismally summed up as the aforementioned keeper (already the recipient of a caution in this match) was shown a straight red card for threatening and abusive behaviour (commonly known as a temper tantrum).

All in all a good result for Rino’s on a day of remembrance for our inspirational #11.



Players: Will, Ash, Evan, Hawk, Dhiren, Vinny, Riley (Yuda 70), Travis (Ryan 45), Greg (Francois 55), Shawn (Gur 45), Adam (Tim 40)

Goals: Vinny (2), Tim

Assists: Francois (2), Ryan

CAT Match 7 – Surrey United “B”

Kickoff: 2:00 pm Sunday, October 24th at Cloverdale Athletic

On a wet and dreary weekend Rino’s SC took to the field hoping to take all three points for the third week running. Their opponents –defeated by Rino’s 4-2 in last years corresponding fixture – had started the season strongly and sat three points ahead of Rino’s in the table after six matches.

In Vancouver the rain fell heavily all morning, yet south-east Surrey seemed to have avoided most of the downfall and, as the rain held off for the duration of the match, the pitch was in excellent condition. The wind too seemed willing to cooperate. Though it had swirled viciously overhead during the warm up – reminding me of my time in Dublin where every second match from September to March seemed to be won by the team who could best take advantage of the roaring gales – the wind was barely noticeable by game time.

With such playing conditions an entertaining match seemed certain, and Rino’s took full advantage by getting off to a flyer. Following the kick-off O’Genski made his markers look foolish down the left flank before he flashed in an inviting ball which Pritchard nipped onto to get the slightest of touches. The keeper made the save and managed to block Martin’s follow up, but Ford was not to be denied his SECOND goal of the season and duly put Rino’s up 1-0 with less than a minute on the clock.

Surrey were stunned and continued to fall pray to Rino’s emphatic closing down and slick counter attacks. On one such case Pritchard laid in an inviting ball for the onrushing Martin who needed only one touch to audaciously (who writes this anyways?) chip the keeper. Rino’s held their 2-0 lead going into half time as nothing much of note occurred bar some interesting conversations between Bligh and Surrey’s main danger man. One can only hope the later invests in a thesaurus before the two teams next meet on December 11th as his arsenal of insults clearly failed to progress from Elementary School (not to say he did either) but ‘bastard child’ ‘bastard child’ needed work. At the very least he should probably Wikipedia Ireland to prove it really does exist, not that someone from Surrey should be so uncomfortable with accents anyways.

After the re-start Surry were gifted a fortunate penalty for handball, yet Thom wasn’t even made work as the Surrey midfielder dragged his spot-kick hopelessly wide. Surrey failed to engineer quality scoring chances and struggled to break down a resolute Rino’s backline. In fact it was Rino’s who could have added to their score as Surrey pushed more and more bodies forward. Martin was particularly wasteful after being sent through by Shih, yet despite doing all the hard work to initially steal the ball in midfield, he shot harmlessly at the keeper.

In the end it made little difference. Rino’s deservedly took all the points and notched up their third clean sheet of the year. Having now played all six teams from Cat ‘A,’ Rino’s sit in third spot, trailing only Westside and today’s opponents.

Team: 4-4-2

Thom, Bligh, McArthur (Simey 45), Khosrovi, Crompton (McArthur 60), Thompson (Atkinson 45), Martin,  Hill (Nolan 45), O’Genski (Hill 70), Pritchard (Shih 45), Ford (Coughny 45).

CAT Match 3 – UBC Metropolitan “B”

Kickoff: 4:00 pm Saturday, September 25th at Pt. Grey Turf

It was an afternoon of firsts for the 2010-2011 Rino “B” squad, with no stat more important than the three points collected after a well deserved victory.

After two disappointing outings to start the season, the build up to the match had been all business – expectations demanding nothing short than a commanding team effort.

With nearly a full squad to choose from (only Derrick, Ben Cougny and Corby out), Rino’s started the match with a positive 4-4-2 formation: Paulo, Sam, Stefan, Ash, Brandon, Vinny, Ryan Arceneaux, Jordan Atkinson, Adam, Corey Ford, Max.

Rino’s immediately took charge of the match, some neat passing moves pressuring the Metro backline into conceding two early corners. After barely allowing the opposition out of their half, Rino’s were rewarded with a goal on fifteen minutes.

Following some excellent interplay between Sam and Adam down the left flank, Corey Ford found the ball at his feet on the edge of the penalty area and wasted no time unleashing an unstoppable left footed drive over the outstretched Metro goalkeeper.

Having chosen an opportune time to open his account for the season, Ford will now be hoping to maintain his run of games which has – at least temporarily – vaulted him ahead of Sami Salo in the ‘most likely to be injured getting out of bed’ category.

The goal seemed to spur Metro into action as they increasingly entered the game. While Rino’s had bossed the opening minutes with their movement and short passing, the game became more and more and aerial battle that favoured the away side.

Despite dropping Adam into an attacking midfield role to adopt a 4-5-1 formation, Rino’s struggled to re-assert their earlier dominance. If anything Metro were guilty of wasting the few opportunities they created and the game went into half time with the one goal separating the two sides.

A number of substitutions were made at half time which reflected more of a ‘fresh legs’ approach than our earlier ‘line changes.’ In stepped Ben Motum and Oscar at the back, Damien, Declan and Greg in midfield, while Gowen was brought in as the lone striker to work energetically up front.

Ford’s absence left fans in the terraces asking a few questions – many wondering if a dressing room bust-up had occurred during the Rino half time talk. Fortunately it was later revealed that Ford had left the park to squeeze in a visit to Yossi Benayoun’s witch doctor for his weekly placenta treatment. After all one can never be too safe, Salo’s return from injury is likely scheduled for early 2011 and he has only just celebrated his 36th birthday.

Mute points aside, both teams immediately pressed in search of goals after the re-start. But it was Rino’s who controlled the majority of possession, most of the players getting involved in some slick movements from wing to wing. Damien, Ryan and Vinny displayed good industry in the middle of the park and the back line stood strong against Metro’s attacks. Paulo, largely a spectator, responded well when called into action.

The further introduction of Robin and Alex provided a spark for Rino’s just as Metro were tiring and becoming more desperate in their quest for an equalizer. As Metro pushed forward, Rino’s were quick on the counter, Greg’s darting run picked out by Vinny, only for his shot to be well blocked by the keeper. By far the best chance of the half fell to Adam in the dying moments, with only the keeper to beat he blazed over from ten yards.

Rino’s played out the remainder of the match with ten men after Robin succumbed to an unfortunate broken finger. Yet it made little difference in the end, as Rino’s celebrated their first win and first clean sheet of the season. Our record now stands at 1-1-1 with three goals scored and three conceded.

Final Score: Rino’s 1 – UBC Metropolitan 0

CAT Match 2 – Norvan Saints

Kickoff: 5:00 pm Sunday, September 19th at Sutherland Turf

Entering our first away match of the season one could not help but recall our last trip to Sutherland Turf on Sunday, September 13th 2009 (Norvan Saints 3 vs W Rino’s 1).

While we again left North Vancouver with nothing to show for our efforts, we can at least take away the fact that our overall performance was much better. In fact if not for the comical (even school-boy) fashion with which we conceded our two goals, we certainly would have taken a share of the points from this match.

With only nineteen players on hand we started with a strong, attacking line-up. Our ability to close down the opposition led to a number of early mistakes from the Saints. After creating some good opportunities

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we were rewarded for our bright start with a somewhat fortuitous goal by Ben: his looping strike from the right-wing finding its way over the hapless Saints keeper.

What happened shortly there after was a sign of things to come.

On a day where I had earlier witnessed Anton Ferdinand – who surely had Cesc Fabregas in his own fantasy pool – conspire to gift Arsenal an early led at the Stadium of Light and Richard Stearman gift the hopeless Alan Hutton his first goal since early 2007 at White Hart Lane, I might have expected the extra-ordinary.

However, nothing could prepare us for the amazing own goal which followed Ben’s opener and brought the teams level at half time (enough said about that)!

After the re-start Rino’s again struggled to get up to speed as a number of the mass substitutes looked to find their touches. With the rain continuing to fall, play was bogged down in the middle of the pitch and both sides were guilty of stray passing on the slick turf.

Towards the middle of the second half, Rino’s again came to life but failed to test the Saints keeper who had proven himself shaky in the first half (other than Max’s usual hustle in which he somehow managed to injure himself rather than the keeper this time).

As the match neared an end there really was only one question left to be answered: what do set-pieces, long throw-ins and corner kicks have in common for RVSC ‘B’? The answer was unfortunately that we struggled to defend them and so handed Saints all three points following a scramble in our penalty area.

It was a disappointing way to end an otherwise even contest, yet the performance can at least be seen as a step in the right direction for a team with expectations as lofty as ours.

Team: 4-4-2 and still too many to remember…

Final Score: Norvan 2 – Rino’s 1

CAT Match 1 – Coq. Metro-Ford Wolves “B”

Kickoff: 4:00pm Saturday, September 11th at Pt. Grey Turf

Having spent the summer designing a plan to lull their 2010-2011 opposition into a false sense of security – a subtle change in the club’s name – reigning CAT Division ‘A’ champions RVSC spent Saturday afternoon doing their best to undo such clever thinking.

On this wet, dearly and frustrating afternoon Rino’s fans were left wondering how a seemingly simple three points were turned into a disappointing one.

The organizational gap between the two opponents was clear from the get-go. RVSC showed up readily prepared and eager to begin the season with twenty-two players dressed. Conversely the Wolves struggled to field ten players for kickoff.

Despite turning this obvious miss-match into early dominance, Rino’s failed to hit the back of the net. This early on in the season the squad can be forgiven for needing some time to gel, particularly with so many players making their club debuts. However, judging by the disarray of the opposition, there was clearly something more than mere cohesion lacking in our performance.

Roughly twenty-five minutes into an otherwise uneventful first half, Rino’s managed to piece together a fluid counter-attacking movement and after good work down the right wing, Ben fired in a cross which was expertly headed home from 8 yards by Max.

To address the fact that twenty-two players were dressed for this game; Rino’s made ten substitutions at half time (only Paulo in goal remained). Management required the chance to see many of the new players in action but the result of the wide-spread changes was unavoidable. While Wolves had been increasingly fighting their way back into the game, our fresh substitutes were simply not up to game speed and were immediately pegged back.

To their credit, Rino’s turned things around and created some good opportunities; Corey firing just wide and Vinny testing the keeper with a chip from 30 yards after clever play from Alex.

However victory was simply not to be for Rino’s. Following a late corner kick for Wolves, a goal-bound header was unceremoniously handled on the goal-line by Yuda. Wolves buried the resulting spot-kick and the game fizzled out with RVSC down to ten men. Unfortunately the only real positive I can see from this performance was the fact that last year we were beat 3-0 on our home opener.

Team: 4-4-2 but too many names to even remember!

Final Score: Rino’s 1 – Wolves 1