Rino’s Vancouver Soccer Club 2017/18 Season Re-cap

The 2017/2018 VMSL Season wrapped up with a strong showing from all Rino’s Vancouver SC teams. The premier division Tiger’s team were in the title hunt all season long but were unable to find late season form and ended with a 6th place finish. A slow start from the 2017 3rd place finishing Division 1 side Fury put early doubts of promotion into their minds as they ended up in mid-table at 6th as well. The Division 2 Bulldogs had lots of promising results but carried on in the same style with a 6th place finish. The O35’s captured 3rd with a strong showing in Masters division 1 but it ended up being the old boys in the O45 Masters division, winning their respective league. Congrats to them!

The Tiger’s and Fury will now play in the VMSL Imperial Cup and hope to qualify for the BC Provincial Cup.

Div 1 Match 8 2013/14 – Sarajevo FC

Week 8 saw Rinos take on an improving Sarajevo side who sat just one point behind Rinos in the Div 1 table. The preparation for this must win game was far from ideal. Blue body paint, black eyeliner and silver duct tape did nothing to intimidate our opponents in fact probably led them to believe we were a cross dressing traveling circus. Things went from bad to worse when nature called for the Irish duo of Picket and Bligh who spent the warm up running around Vancouver to find a toilet.

Surprisingly the game opened with Rinos coming straight out of the traps. Moore, Pickett, English and Norton (playing in his farewell game) all had chances to open the scoring within the first 20 mins with O’Sullivan offering some tasty balls down the channels and Stoakes causing the hosts some problems down the left. The pace slowed dramatically after the initial onslaught and we went in at half time feeling frustrated at the performance. There was something missing and Rinos did not seem like a team that were pushing hard for promotion.

After some strong inspirational words from “The Haymaker” at half time the second half was to be a different story. The Rinos midfield went into second gear and quickly began dominating. The breakthrough came on the hour mark. Some good pressure by the lively debutant Abubakar allowed Pickett to break through with the ball. After gracefully skipping by 4 challenges he pulled the ball back to Moore who showed good composure to finish into the bottom corner. Picket again was the star for Rinos second goal. Obviously not being satisfied with only beating 4 players on his last run he left 5 or 6 Sarajevo players dizzy before being taken down inside the box. English stepped up to smash the ball home from the spot after some mind games with the opposing keeper to double Rinos advantage.

It wasn’t long before the game was wrapped up. John “The Beast” Bligh burst out of the defense to charge down a Sarajevo defender. He skillfully played a stunning first time ball (with his left arse cheek) into the path of Moore who beat the last defender to the ball before rounding the keeper for his second and Rinos third.

The normally rock solid Rinos defence gave away a soft goal from a free kick with 10 minutes remaining. This proved nothing more than a consolation. Sarajevo managed one other strong shot on goal in the dying minutes only to be denied by a quality save by Thom (who is looking more like Iker Casillas every week). The impressive second half performance was completed by English with almost the last kick of the game. With the keeper well off his line he executed a quality Beckham like strike to ensure a result that will undoubtedly have the top 3 looking over their shoulders in a promotion race that is far from over. Man (Men) of the Match went to O’Sullivan and Billingham for strong holding midfield performances (Billos hard man tackle I’m sure a major factor in this).

Saturday see’s table toppers Vancouver Olympics come to the fortress that is Point Grey Turf in the biggest game of the season so far for Rinos. We will be without our influential play maker Mark Norton who is heading back to the UK. All the best Mark. Hopefully see you again soon.

Div 1 Match 6 2013/14 – Richmond FC Hibernians

Rino’s welcomed Richmond Hibernians to Point Grey with a big Céad Míle Fáilte, as the Club Ireland team, with FAI crests proudly adorning their chests, took to the field for the pre-game handshake. As it turned out, an old fashioned Canadian ‘Howdy’ may have been more appropriate as the Irish side seemed firmly onboard with the Jack Charlton era selection policy. Even at that there were a few more Cascarinos on there than Townsends I’d say.

Another clear sign that this team was as Irish as Thierry Henry’s left hand was the highly un-Irish 100% record they brought into the match up. These Plastic Paddies meant business.

Right from the outset Richmond set their stall out as a fast paced attacking side, with a strong physical element to their play. Although not initially paying dividends it certainly held Rino’s to half chances as we struggled to match the pace of this once great club. But as time went on Rino’s settled into the game and found their feet, keeping the score 0-0 while doing so.

As the game progressed it became apparent that Jack Charlton’s selection policy wasn’t the only thing mimicked by Richmond, as

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long ball after long ball came flying from their backline. Rino’s were not faring much better however, with few spells of good possession for either side. The breakthrough for Richmond came on the hour mark from a set piece, teasingly clipped between the defence and keeper, where it was met by Cascarino himself to head into the vacated net.

Rino’s tried to find an equaliser, but other than a couple half chances it was Richmond who looked more likely to score again with holes being left as we pushed on.

Final score was 1-0, with Rino’s slumping to their first defeat of the season.

Man of the Match went to actual Irishman John Bligh, the big fella at the back… because he’s pure daycent

Team: Thom, Atleo, Petersen, Bligh (Ire), O’Genski, Billingham (Twat), Greenall, Hauk, Norton, O’Sullivan (Ire), Pickett (Ire)
Subs: Duff, Carr, English, Moore (Ire), Stoakes

Div 1 Match 5 2013/14 – Binger’s Army

Week 5 pitted Rino’s, off the back of consecutive wins, against old rivals Binger’s Army, off the back of taking their first big scalp of the year, Shaheen. But Rino’s, and in particular man of the match Atleo, had Binger’s own scalp firmly in their sights.

The game started at a frenetic pace with Binger’s showing their early league results were a blip, and not to be the norm. Rino’s were somewhat disjointed, with Bligh still mending on the sideline as he rested his groin for an upcoming visitor from Ireland. Both teams traded spells of possession, Binger’s edging the encounter through sheer energy alone, but solid defending kept them at bay, with no chances of note to show for their efforts.

It was a typically physical encounter between the two sides, and as always, Rino’s knew it wouldn’t be long before either Andrew Cook or LG lost their cool. Biding their time Rino’s kept their tempo up and pushed for the lead, all the time knowing it couldn’t be long now. Right on cue the straight red was handed out. This time to LG, taking some of the work load from Cook, as he attempted to nut the smallest player on the pitch, little Ali ‘Butter Wouldn’t Melt’ Pickett.

This proved the turning point, with Rino’s taking the lead a few minutes later. Great build up, with Norton to Pickett, Pickett to Billingham, Billingham sending English into the right corner with an uncharacteristically beaut pass, English whipping it across the face of the goal, Moore can’t connect, defence can’t connect, Norton can’t connect, nobody can… bang, 1-0, who else but Greenall at the back post for his third consecutive game winning goal against Binger’s. You’d think by now they’d mark him back there.

Rino’s, who were 2-0 up last year when Binger’s took their traditional red, were well aware that the game was not over. Binger’s came back to 2-2 that time, with Greenall scoring at… well just read the last description. Binger’s showed the fighting spirit they are known for and continued to apply pressure. But having gone 3 at the back there was more space for the Rino’s attack to play into.

This freedom of movement lead to Moore being played clean through on goal twice in a short space of time. The first resulted in everyone turning away afraid to make eye contact with him, but the second lead to a penalty when he was bowled over in the top corner of the box. Moore was glad of the lie down after another huge effort up front, chasing passes and defenders all night.

Chris English stepped up to shoulder the responsibility, and dispatched the penalty into the corner, with Critter just unable to keep it out. With the 2-0 cushion Rino’s were assured the victory, but the defence continued to prove impassable as Binger’s tried to salvage some pride. Atleo, Petersen, Southern, and O’Genski all putting in solid performances against the mixed threat of freakishly tall and somewhat fast strikers of Binger’s.

Man of the Match went to Tyson Atleo, another solid performance from the star full back

Team: Thom, Atleo, Petersen, Southern, O’Genski, Billingham, English, Norton, Pickett, O’Sullivan, Moore
Subs: Duff, Bligh, Greenall, Stoakes

Div 1 Match 4 2013/14 – GN Sporting Club

Week 4 saw the arrival of GN Sporting to Point Grey Fortress (technically a school). Having gotten back to winning ways against Akal, Rino’s were confident of taking the 3 points, but just like Luke’s new girlfriend, a tight affair was expected, with GN coming in to the game with 0 goals for, but only 2 against.

The fans were expecting too, with the biggest turnout of the year, Paddy, Emily, Tash and Hurley. Paddy expecting beer more than anything.

The first half, as predicted, was a close encounter, with Rino’s having the better of it, but not creating any great chances. The teams were set to go in even at the break before Moore stepped up with what is a contender for goal of the season. Norton, free on the right, wearing a yellow jersey for some reason, clipped a ball to the top of the box for the unmarked Moore. With all the time in the world, he deftly chested the ball up, caught it on the back of his neck, rolled it down his back, back heeled it over his head, controlled on his thigh, and side footed past the goalie. Horrendous defending, and GN were made to pay. Luckily Luke had his go pro on, and had his usual amount of movement around the box… Wonder Goal I

There was still time for one more chance right before the half time whistle, this time falling to GN. On a rare breakaway the striker shot low to the corner, but the shot was brilliantly stopped by returning Rino’s legend Marek ‘The Flying Slovak’ Gasperik.

After the break it would be Moore again to find the net, taking his tally for the season to 3, overtaking his nemesis O’Sullivan for top scorer. If the first goal was good, this one was, well, not as good, but still quite good. English clipped in another cross to Moore, this time actually marked, but a quick thinking, overhead kick into the top corner beat the flailing keeper. Note: Rino’s had to change kit at half time, Billingham unhappy with how small he looked in an adult male sized jersey. Rob on the camera this time, hence a bit shaky, and dodgy editing… Wonder Goal II

Rino’s settled in to the 2-0 lead and were looking comfortable until a fluke goal was conceded, only the 2nd of the season. The blustery conditions carrying a whipped in corner to the far post and going straight in. If Rino’s were a bit more edgy after this, they were outright panicking at the site of talismanic captain, mentor, and friend, John Bligh having to go off with a grade 7 hamstring tear.

Rino’s knew a 1 goal lead would not be enough now, and pushed for the 3rd. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it was Mike Carr who delivered the death knell. Another delivery from English, and a powerful thunderbolt drive to the near post put the ball and the keeper into the back of the net, unstoppable.

Rino’s would somehow keep GN out for the remaining minutes, and made it back to back wins for the first time this season.

Man of the match went to Geoff Stoakes for his tireless efforts up and down the left wing… ah to be young again.

Team: Gasperik, Atleo, Petersen, Bligh, O’Genski, Billingham, Stoakes, Norton, Hauk, O’Sullivan, Moore
Subs: Thom, English, Carr, Duff, Pickett

Div 1 Match 3 2013/14 – Akal FC

Rino’s took on former Div 1 power house Akal Friday night in what turned out to be a very (read that with emphasis, hence bold, but still, add some more, because I mean we fucking slaughtered them) one sided affair.

The game got off to a great start, with Haydn’s simple directions being followed to the letter. “Score early David”, “Yes Haydn.” and it was 1-0. A deep corner was artfully cushioned down by Billingham (who was to go on to have a monumental performance) and Moore was on hand to blast in from close range. The first of many goals to come for Rino’s, and hopefully the first of many, many goals to come from Moore (although not in this game, just the one).

Rino’s continued to push in the first half, but Akal, unaware of the futility of scoring just once, were having their fair share of attacking play, and tied the game late in the half. A clearance from the back falling to an Akal striker, who let loose with a great strike just inside the post, Thom with no chance.

That late goal meant the two teams went in at half with very different perspectives, but again Pritchard was to inspire the troops. “Score 6 more”, “Ok Haydn”, “Sure”, “Yeah, no problem”, “Consider it done”, “Happy to oblige”.

Some changes at half time, with English and Atleo introduced, seemed to give the team more attacking impetus, and right from the whistle Rino’s were breaking down the Akal back line at will. The game winning goal came off a corner, delivered deep to the box, and met by O’ Genski with a looping header that deceived everyone and dipped under the bar for 2-1.

The goal celebrations were barely over when Rino’s were 3-1 up. Again a corner, this time a scramble in front of goal, and Billingham stuck the boot in to drive it home. Akal left reeling after a quick fire double.

The next few minutes saw Rino’s waste some golden opportunities, but any fear that they would end up paying for them were put to bed when English skinned the Akal full back, not for the first or last time, and whipped in a ball across the face of goal, to be met by the diving head of O’Sullivan.

4 quickly became 5 when English cut inside the full back yet again and unleashed a strike to the far post. (That may have been the 6th or 7th goal either, I can’t remember the order any more)

More chances went begging, with the Akal keeper having a great performance despite the cricket scoreline that was forming, saving from close range a number of times to deny English and Moore. The 6th came from a fortuitous bounce after Moore broke through the middle and cracked a shot off the post, but the ball fell kindly to O’Sullivan to tap in for his 2nd of the game.

Not content with only terrorising Akal’s left back, Kook got in on the action dazzling their right back and pulling down his pants before whipping a low cross to Greenall, who took a touch to settle the ball, and hammered it to the keepers right.

That goal finished off the 7-1 rout, in a game that could easily have seen double figures for Rino’s. We go on to face GN Sporting at home Saturday, while Akal go on to another tough test against, you’ve guessed it, Vancouver Olympics.

Man of the Match was a unanimous verdict for Chris English, who had a huge impact when he came in, scoring one, setting up at least 2 or 3 more, and just in general making fools of Akal’s ‘defenders’.

Team: Thom, Petersen, Southern, Bligh, O’Genski, Billingham, Stoakes, Norton, Greenall, O’Sullivan, Moore
Subs: Hayward, English, Atleo, Kook

Div 1 Match 2 2013/14 – Serbian White Eagles

Rino’s desire to mimic last season exactly took another step in the right direction after a 0-0 tie with Serbia.

Rino’s started brightly, holding possession well, and created an inviting chance for Norton in the 10th minute after some sexy build up play through the right, but the shot was too close to the spry ‘young’ Serbian keeper.

What happened next was nothing short of shitting the bed, and for the remainder of the half Rino’s lived a charmed life, with Serbia’s inability to field good strikers the only thing that kept the score 0-0.

A more even 2nd half ensued, but neither side created any clear-cut chances. A quick shot on the turn from O’Sullivan rattled the Serbian bar, and a beautiful delivery from O’Genski was met by Bligh to yet again head the ball just past the post, but that was all that Rino’s produced (or all that I can remember 6 days later) in a frustrating 90mins. A sense of inevitability set in with 20 mins to go, that for the third meeting in a row the two tams would share the spoils.

Serbia look a much improved side from last year, with their tactic of sitting more Serbians on the bench, and non nationals on the field seemingly a wise decision.

Man of the Match went to David Moore for tirelessly working up top trying to force the breakthrough off broken supply.

Rino’s go on to face Akal on Friday night, while Serbia, as with

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Campobasso last week, go on to face Vancouver Olympics, which will in fact be the team most teams face after playing Rino’s due to some lazy scheduling by the VMSL.

Team: Thom, Stoakes, Southern, Bligh, O’Genski, Billingham, Norton, Greenall, Duff, O’Sullivan, Moore
Subs: Atleo, Carr, Hauk, Dodich

Div 1 Match 1 2013/14 – AC Campobasso

The 2013/14 season kicked off in identical fashion to the previous campaign, with a 1-0 defeat of AC Campobasso.

The new pre-game handshake and photo-op added a sense of professionalism to the occasion, however Campo’s first few touches quickly dispelled any delusions of grandeur.

Campo, having lost the jewel in their crown (last years MVP Paraic Phelan) to Div 1 rivals Ajyal Tigers for an undisclosed fee, were flattered by the 1-0 scoreline. They produced no shots on target during the contest, whereas Rino’s were guilty of missing some gilt edged chances.

The Rino’s side had a familiar look to it, but as with the start of every Rino’s season opener, there were a handful of debutantes on display. David Moore, Jamie O’Sullivan, and Aussie keeper Patrick Hayward, donned the Rino’s Blue for their first competitive match, while Summer League signings Mark Norton and Ash Southern (who take our English contingent far too high) took their VMSL bow for Rino’s. All 5 are great additions to the squad, and provide us strength in every position.

The game got off to a great start, with Rino’s holding the ball for decent spells, and 10 minutes in produced what proved to be the only goal of the affair, from the unlikely source of Ali Pickett. Some possession atop the Campo box was broken up, but a poor clearance fell to Pickett who made space for a shot from 25yards. The strike squeaked through, and despite the keeper getting hands to it, crept into the corner of the net. Pickett looked as surprised as anyone that he was celebrating a goal at this level.

Rino’s looked dangerous down the wings after that, with Hauk, Duff, and later O’Sullivan and Kook getting in behind the Campo full backs, but were unable to find anyone in the middle to double the lead. To Campo’s credit they defended well in the final third and Rino’s were left with few clear-cut opportunities by half.

As the second half got underway though cracks bean to appear, and the humidity seemed to get the better of Campo, with only the post, some rusty finishing, and last ditch defending keeping the game alive. A delicate chip to the back post found Billingham alone for a free header, but the tight angle left a difficult finish, and the shot came back off the post, with Campo quickest to react and get the ball clear. A corner shortly after produced another header at goal, this time from Bligh, which flashed (slowly) just past the post.

Some strong wing play was now paying dividends, and a couple of balls found Greenall and Norton in the box, but the former was unable to keep a zippy ball down, and the latter unable to make the space for a shot before being closed down.

As chance after chance went begging Campo were buoyed by the slim margin holding firm, and indeed nearly stole a point late on when a deflected free kick wrong footed Thom in goal, but sailed just over the bar. Some late pressure from Campo resulted in consecutive corners, but nothing was to come of them, and Rino’s walked away with all 3 points.

Man of the Match went to Brent Petersen for his role in limiting the Campo attack to just a few speculative shots.

Rino’s move on to Serbia next, for their home opener, while Campobasso have another tough tie away to newly relegated Vancouver Olympics.

Team: Thom, Atleo, Petersen, Bligh, O’Genski(Southern), Billingham, Hauk(Kook), Norton, Pickett(Carr), Duff(O’Sullivan), Moore(Greenall)