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Discussion in 'VMSL' started by Canucks4Ever, Aug 23, 2018.
Looks like Campo's number 16 didn't just go back to ireland and drink guiness...he ate 16 turkeys!!!
Should have that been a red at the 3:11min mark?
Good point almost looks like a two footed challenge......
Presumably the question was about the reaction and not the tackle itself? The tackle looked hard but clean as he clearly gets the ball.
The reaction where he slams the player into the ground definitely caught my eye, but Alain is one of the best referees in the business (he did the Provincial final last season) and was perfectly positioned. He also had the presence of mind not to look away and follow the ball immediately, perhaps sensing that there might be a reaction and he was right. He clearly watched the whole sequence of events from just steps away and determined that it merited only a yellow card. Given his positioning and pedigree as an official, and without having a feel for the game as a whole from just the highlights, I'd be inclined to defer to the referees judgement and say that he got it right. Certainly the Campo players did not seem to be upset with the decision.
At first glance I thought it could have been given. No need for that kind of reaction. Sure the tackle was hard but it looked legal.
Alain was/is(?) also a good player too and he's transitioned in to one of finest refs around imo. Yellow for sure. A red if the campo player milked it a bit more.
Pegasus 4-0 Campo Atletico
Croatia 3-1 Richmond
Tigers Rovers 2-1 MetroFord
Norvan 1-2 InterChile
Rino's 3-2 CCB
WestVan 3-0 Guilford
A few points dropped here and there among the top teams, but ultimately there has still been little settled as far as the final table is concerned. With heavyweight tilts among the title contenders still on the horizon, as well as fixtures to be made up, it means that we could well be waiting until the final kicks of the season to determine who will be finishing where. Indeed, this week once more serves up a number of top versus bottom clashes where the teams who are hoping to finish the season with some silverware will need to hold their nerve. Of course there are still one or two spicy clashes on the docket, so still plenty to keep an eye on!
Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 17
Croatia v Richmond Hibernian
It was the same scoreline, just opposite ends of it, for these two sides in their first matches back from the holidays last week. Croatia dispatched Pegasus 4-0 while Richmond were swept aside by West Van by the same scoreline. That is now three clean sheets in a row for Croatia, and four in their last five matches, as the Europeans would appear to have discovered a new passion for defending. This newfound focus comes at a good time as, while Croatia's offense could hardly be described as anemic, their goal scoring this season has not been at the heights, compared to the rest of the division, as it found itself at last season. They currently sit in second place, but that could drop to fourth if the teams behind them win their games in hand. Of course only a top four finish can guarantee them a place in the Provincial Cup without needing to rely on the Imperial Cup so, while Croatia will certainly still be eyeing the league title, at the very least they will not want to drop outside of the top four. They play two of the bottom sides over in their next two matches before finishing their campaign against teams from the top seven, so ensuring maximum against Richmond this week will be crucial. For their part Hibs know their season, and survival, will hinge on their run in against the other bottom sides which begins next week against Peg. Of course any "bonus" points that any of the relegation threatened side can accrue from matches against the top sides could prove the difference come the final tally, and Richmond have taken points of sides higher than them in the table already this season. The boys from below sea level will be on the lookout to see if Croatia leave the door open for them, but expect the Europeans to take car of business.
Rovers Tigers v Coquitlam Metro Ford
For the second week in a row Rovers get their first taste of an opponent, having had the reverse fixture postponed while they were at Nationals. They will be without leading scorer Nick Soolsma who has turned up on the VMSL's hot sheet after accumulating his third yellow card of the season in Rovers 3-1 win over Guildford last time out. Tigers are hardly bereft of attacking options however, and it will just mean that there is more emphasis on players like Pavi Dhillon to pick up the slack in Soolsma's absence. After a brief surge, Coquitlam have now gone three games without a win, including a rather tepid 1-1 draw last week with NorVan. Metro Ford fell behind early in that match but played more than half an hour with a man advantage after one of the NorVan players received a second caution. However, despite their numerical superiority, they were only able to rescue a draw with a single goal from talisman Carlo Basso. It would stand to reason that any chance the Tri-Cities boys have against the team that supplanted them at the top last year would run through Basso as well, especially given their current form. Metro Ford seem to be losing touch with the top five and it looks likely to come down to either them or Inter for sixth place and the final spot in the Provincial Cup, depending on how the Imperial Cup shakes down. Perhaps the lone bit of good news for Coquitlam last week was that Inter too dropped points and the two sides still sit level. Usually, not having Soolsma to deal with might well tip the scales for the visitors, but given their current form, it is tough to back Metro Ford at the minute. Rovers at home are always a tough task, but if Coquitlam can hunker down and lean on their top three defense I think there might be a draw in it for them.
Pegasus v Campo Atletico
Not sure what to make of Campo after their latest exploits, a 7-1 drubbing at home by CCB that was much more reminiscent of the early season Campo and not the "new era" Campo that we saw in the matches leading into the winter break, though they did score their first goal since their coaching shuffle. Perhaps it was simply a matter of players still being away for the holidays, but, whatever the case, 100 goals against and no points for the season is suddenly looking back on the cards. Indeed, they will need to average less than four goals against per game in order to avoid the dubious distinction of breaking the century mark. This week looked like as good a chance as any for the new and improved Campo to showcase their ability to work together and achieve something, irrespective of how their season has gone up to this point, against a Pegasus side that has failed as well to live up to their own expectations this year. Instead it looks as if it is back to the drawing board for the Burnaby boys while Peg will be looking to pick up a crucial three points and ensure that the relegation battle remains firmly in their rear view mirror. The Surrey crew play all three of the bottom teams consecutively over the next three weeks knowing that a clean sweep of nine points with mathematically make them safe. After they they can perhaps focus on an Imperial Cup run in order to try and claim a shock Provincial Cup spot. I really did expect Campo to be in better form coming into this one and motivated to have a strong finish to the season. However, after their performance last week, there's simply no picking them here.
West Van v Guildford
After taking care of business last week against Richmond, West Van once more find themselves perched atop the VMSL Premier table, thanks to Rino's dropping points at Inter. Of course the North Shore boys know that both CCB and Rovers have the ability to overtake them simply by winning their games in hand, so it is crucial for the former Trollers to continue to pick up points, especially against bottom sides. Guildford limped into the holidays with a dismal performance against Rino's followed by a trip to NorVan that was halted before halftime, with the rest of that match to be made up in midweek before the end of the month. Regardless, there were much more promising signs coming out of their return to action in 2019 last week when, while they still lost, they put in a much better performance against Rovers. In fact, the Surrey side took an early in that match before Rovers flair players wrestled control of the match away. This type of performance is much more akin to what we saw during their best stretch of the campaign, picking up three wins and showing well in a pair of narrow 1-0 defeats. If Guildford can returns to this level of play, they might just have the edge in the survival battle that is looking more and more likely to be a two horse race between themselves and Richmond. Bonus points off first place West Van might be a bridge too far (especially after already crossing a couple to get out to Ambleside) but a solid outing should set them up well for the stretch drive when there are points there for the taking.
Rino's Tigers v CCB LFC
Definitely the MOTW in this one with a pair of the league's title hopefuls clashing at Trillium. Both side come into this fixture on 32 points, though CCB hold a game in hand. Their point totals are enough to see them in a tie for third place, just two points behind league leaders West Van, however, for Rino's it likely feels like the largest two point gap in history. With CCB and Rovers both having games to make-up, Rino's could easily be knocked down to fifth and outside of the guaranteed Provincial Cup places. That should provide a bit of extra motivation for the Vancouver side especially as they approach a stretch of their schedule that proved rather tricky to maneuver the first time through. While Rino's looked rusty last week coming back from the break against Inter, CCB were in top gear demolishing Campo. In case anyone was worried that the "Dark Side" may have stopped drawing people in, it was recently announced that they had lured Shun Tekano away from Mid-Isle of the VISL and announced the signing of Milad Rhamati, though no word on when, or if at all, his suspension with the VMSL will be ending. The goal is clearly a league title for the Surrey boys and their current eight game unbeaten run has certainly provided them a platform from which work from down the stretch. They will also be keen on a spot of revenge after Rino's handed them their largest defeat of the season, beating them 4-0 in the reverse fixture out at Newton in easily CCB's worst performance of the season. Expect a top quality match in this one with plenty of fantastic players showing their talents. Hopefully it end up a high-scoring cracker that is a candidate for the game of the season. As for a winner, with their deadly army of allegedly high-priced mercenaries at full strength, and top form it is tough to bet against CCB.
NorVan v Club Inter EDC
As mentioned above, it looks likely to come down to either Inter or Coquitlam for the final spot in the top six. After Coquitlam failed to pick up maximum points from NorVan last week, "Chinter" will get their chance to avoid making the same mistake when their visit the North Shore this weekend. Mohammad Habib continues to be the straw that stirs the drink for the "Italian"-South American side and he will look to increase his team leading goal tally of 12, more than three times the total of any other player on the Inter EDC roster. The winter break did not appear to cool him off either at it was Habib who had the goal and almost all of Inter's top chances in their 1-1 tie against Rino's upon their return to action last week. If NorVan can keep him off the score sheet then they would appear to have every chance of getting something out of this game. Habib was not a factor in the 1-1 draw these teams played out earlier in the season, but the newly promoted boys caught a break in that match as he was nursing an injury. NorVan are all but mathematically assured of safety in their return to the top flight and, after failing to come away with all three points in their 1-1 draw against Coquitlam last time out, they are likely to have to settle for finishing outside the top six as well. That means there should be little to motivate NorVan in this one, compared to Inter who should be desperate to continue picking up points in the race for Provincial places. I think that is likely to be the difference maker in this one.
Rovers 1-2 CMF FT
A really entertaining game out at Newton. No Soolsma looked like it was going to be no problem as Tigers came roaring out of the gate. They should have been 2-0 within the opening five minutes but for a pair of point blank saves by Dylan in the Metro Ford goal from inside six yards. However, Coquitlam settled themselves and started coming into the games, forcing a sharp save at the other end as the keeper did well to tip the effort over the bar. Just past the 15 minute mark the scoring was opened when Coquitlam put just a sublime free kick off the bar and down from twenty yards out. It was a pure laser beam that left the keeper rooted to the spot. Following the goal Coquitlam did their best to take the sting out of things as Rovers gameplan clearly involved playing at a high tempo. While we were no longer enjoying the breakneck pace that the game started with, there were still enough half chances to keep things interesting. The equalizer came just minutes before the break when a lazy knock down near mid-field turned into a clinical counter attack that was finished neatly at the near post. Indeed there was almost time for Rovers to complete their comeback entirely as they had the ball in the net again off a nicely headed free kick, only to be denied by the assistant's flag.
The second half began heavily tilted towards the Coquitlam end as Rovers came in waves. Dylan made another fantastic save and they did just about enough to see off a barrage of corner kick opportunities. After about 30 minutes of defending, chances finally began to emerge for the away side as they counter attacked down the flanks. Coquitlam produce a handful of half chances themselves, but my prediction of a draw was looking odds on, until injury time. It would be Metro Ford securing a valuable three points as they dealt a blow to Tigers title defense. The goal came of yet another counter attack, this one down the right, and while the keeper did enough to repel the initial attempt the ball squibbed into the middle of the area where it was forced into an unguarded net. There was still time for a last ditch attempt by Rovers to salvage a point (and my prediction...) when they earned a free kick for the last play of the game. The Hail Mary was almost answered as the ball dropped to an orange shirt six yards out but Dylan, who was man of the match in the Metro Ford goal IMO, had the answer one final time.
Pegasus 1-1 Campo FT
Interesting to see the new look Campo who turned up with only 11 bodies, a couple of whom did not look physically up to the task, either based on age or weight. That being said they were certainly much more organized defensively than the last time I saw them, though if they had 10% possession I would have been surprised. Peg were coming in waves but their struggles this season continued to show, especially in the final third where they looked a bit out of sync. Despite all their possession in threatening areas, the final pass was woefully lacking and they only forced the Campo keeper into a lone save through the first half hour. Not that visitors were creating anything at all going forward themselves, though anytime they came even close it was easy to tell based on the ear piercing screeching of one of their moms/girlfriends/wives on the sideline. A Campo substitute arrived with some fresh legs which they desperately needed as it felt as though the noise was tightening as their ten, sometimes eleven, men behind the ball continued to sit deeper and deeper. Still Pegasus continued to let their chances go begging until the breakthrough came just minutes before half time. A short corner saw CJ power along the endline and fire one low across the face of the goal. The keeper got down to collect it, only to have it squeeze through his legs and the assistant rule that it had trickled across the line.
Coming out from the break the game picked up where it left off with Peg in total control. Their finishing continued to be woeful and wasteful, but it seemed only a matter of time until they put this one to bed. Through thirty minutes of the second half, Campo crossed midfield in possession roughly three times, all of which came to nothing. However, as Peg became more and more frustrated with themselves going forward, they continued to commit more and more men up the field. The warning signs were there on Campo's third forray into their half when a neat tackle was required to prevent the visitors generating a chance from the edge of the area and when their fourth incursion into Peg's half came the result was calamity. A long through ball with no hope of an end product saw the Surrey side's keeper come ranging forward well out of his area to deal with it. Perhaps it was as a result of getting cold watching the majority of the game, but, whatever the case, he got it all wrong. He made a complete hash of his clearance and left it on a platter for the Campo forward to finish into an unguarded goal from 35 yards out. Unsurprisingly Peg tried to push even harder going forward but it was just more wasted chances. Certainly a tip of the hat is due to the Campo defenders who battled with everything they had all night and cleared plenty of Peg's attacks, but there were more than enough openings for a top side to win this game comfortabley and the result really does highlight the struggles Pegasus are having this season. With just a quarter of an hour to go, Campo fought valiantly to earn their point and, while statistically Peg would have been full value for the win, their effort fully deserved their point on this night. In fact, after their equalizer the boys in the striped socks seemed to find some extra energy and even tried their hand at a few counter attacks. Believe it or not it was the Burnaby boys who had the best chance to steal the points late when they got on the end of a woefully defended free kick in the box, but flashed their effort wide.
Nvn 0 Inter 2.
Fair result. Got unnecessarily heated. A lot of other vmsl refs would have used either a lot more whistle or a lot more colour
CCB looking really good right now. Well deserved 3-0 winners over Rino's on Saturday. Their defence is looking excellent the last couple of weeks and Victor Blasco really hitting his stride. Another goal and an assist. Have to feel Rino's title challenge is over with that loss and how many teams now have the advantage over them and/or games in hand.
Complete Weekend results:
MF 2-1 Sapp
Peg 1-1 Campo
Croats 3-1 Richmond
Trollups 3-0 Guildford
Chinter 2-0 Norvan
CCB 3-0 Rino's
Watched this after listening to your podcast this morning.
1. Your videos give me a migrane.
2. You can still pick out Blasco's difference in pace and quality, definite step above.
Did he get a CPL offer?
The Rino's attempts at finishing looked awful. Missing starting strikers?
I think that's more old age than the videos!! Although they can be a bit Blair Witchy at times. I like the close up action!
Blasco's not got a deal yet, but he should be heading to them. They're interested in him. It's up to him now. When he's on, he's fantastic to watch.
InterChile 0-2 Rovers
MetroFord 1-1 WestVan
Richmond 1-1 Pegasus
CCB 4-1 NorVan
Guilford 0-3 Croatia
Campo 1-4 Rinos
Some inexplicable mid-week actions kick things off for this round of fixtures, with Inter evidently wanting the weekend off for some reason. Things at the top remain tight, but, two weeks into the New Year, we are beginning to get a feel for who is in form and who might be fading. Based on performance, it is beginning to look like CCB and West Van are the favourites. Croatia and Rovers still of course are well in with more than just a shout, but again, based on their form overall, you would perhaps classify them in a second tier of challengers. After that comes Rino's who are as well more than capable of rising to the top based on the remaining points still to play for, but it seems like it may now be just slightly out of reach. Eight points back with six games to play and, maybe more importantly, five teams to climb over, it seems like Inter and Metro Ford will run out of race track before they can catch everybody up. Still, with so many games still to play, really anything can happen. All it takes is one hot streak. The bottom of the table is also now entering their final crunch, with those sides set to do battle over the coming weeks. However, just when you think this all might be heading towards becoming settled, the Imperial Cup draw is set for Thursday, with that competition taking precedence in February!
Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 18
Club Inter EDC v Rovers Tigers
A rather inconvenient loss last weekend has not entirely taken Rovers fate out of their own hands, but it has made it slightly more onerous. In order to defend their crown Rovers must now not only win their games in hand, but they must now also beat CCB and hope West Van drop points, or else defeat them in a season ending playoff for the title. Previously, winning their games in hand and a draw with their upstart Surrey rivals would have been enough to see them retain their title as champions, presuming of course they did not drop points themselves elsewhere along the way. Of course CCB and West Van still have to meet in a crunch clash with major title implications, so the math is set to change at least once more before the end, however, what is of paramount concern to Rovers this week is getting back to winning ways. This season has not been the dominant wire to wire statement that the Surrey side put up last season and while some of that can be attributed to their decision to focus on winning a National title, which they duly did, it also seems that they are not as comfortable in matches this season. Whether that is a result of the rest of the league having improved or Rovers not being as motivated, or some combination of the two, is hard to say. Their first meeting against Inter was their first match back after Nationals and produced an entertaining 4-4 draw. Presumably the "Italian"-South Americans have a reason for moving their match to Wednesday, likely to do with roster availability, so I expect them to be at full strength. Things look to have been fairly straight forward for them at the weekend as they saw off NorVan 2-0. While the title is not mathematically out of reach, realistically Inter are facing a fight to get into the Provincial Cup. A win here would see them leapfrog Rovers, though artificially given Tigers' games in hand, and ensure that they cannot lose any ground on Metro Ford come the weekend. This should be a battle of two well motivated sides, though we shall have to see what type of squad Rovers can field for a mid-week trip to the city. Neither side look like world beater at the minute and, while both a easily capable of coming away with the points, mid-week fixture just seem to tend to produce draws. Given that's how their first encounter finished as well, I'll say they split the points.
West Van v Coquitlam Metro Ford
This one edges out Inter/Rovers for MOTW given that it is in prime time (aka not stuffed in mid-week) and because of the history between the two sides. After spending most of the last decade or so battling it out, perennially at the top of the VMSL as well as clashing in classic cup encounters, both teams took a dip. West Van went through theirs starting in the 16/17 season. The former Trollers still edged the field for a second place finish, but were clearly a long way off contending as Coquitlam left them in the dust en route to back to back titles. Last year both sides had rather pedestrian first halves to the campaign. Coquitlam fell off a cliff going from champions to spending time in the relegation places. The Tri-Cities boys would eventually pull out of their nose dive, but their season could not be salvaged and they missed the Provincial Cup for the first time in recent memory. This year Metro Ford have been hit and miss and while they avoided spending any time mucking it out at the bottom of the league, they look as though they will be nip and tuck all the way to get back to the post season tournament. West Van, on the other hand, also righted the ship around the holiday last season and, while they were already out of the title picture by this point, they quietly went on a run that saw same climb up to third. This year they were able to pick up where they left off and have been on or about the top of the table for essentially the whole year. The rebuild/revamp/retool, or whatever you wish to call it, seems to be complete on the North Shore and it seems that West Van may well be returning to their place as a perennial VMSL powerhouse. We will need a larger sample size to determine that, however, in the short term the Amblesiders will be focused on trying to lock up their first title since 2015. West Van held their nerve and came through their clashes with the relegation threatened sides unscathed, conceding no goals and wrapping up with a 3-0 win last week over Guildford. Now they will have to negotiate a tough run in if they want to be crowned champions that includes a showdown with chief title rivals CCB in two weeks time, depending on the Cup schedule. In the meantime though it is old rivals Coquitlam who beckon and they will have their tails up after knicking a win away to Rovers last week. This is a battle of two of the top defensive records in the league, so expect a cagey affair. Metro Ford are at their best when they can absorb pressure and then counter punch so it will be interesting to see who ends up taking the game to who. I would expect a thin margin in this one, perhaps even just the one goal in it total. That's how their first meeting this year finished, with West Van coming away with the points and, given their form this season I back them for a similar result again.
CCB LFC v NorVan
On October 20, NorVan beat a rather banal CCB side 4-2. At the time CCB, irrespective of the immense talent they had amassed of during their summer recruit-a-thon, were mired in a 1-1-3 run, having beaten only the woefully last place Campo over that stretch. It seemed that, like has been the story so many times in the past with this franchise, they were set up to underachieve. Adversity had struck and, traditionally, CCB had been known to crumble when the going got tough and things were not going their way. The reverse fixture against NorVan marks the last time that CCB lost a match. Fast forward three months a the Surrey boys are knocking on the door of the league title. They have a massive showdown looming with NorVan's North Shore cousins, West Van, in a couple of weeks, but for now they will need to set about avenging their loss to NorVan and extending their nine game unbeaten run. For their part, NorVan were fairly routinely shoved aside by Inter last weekend, losing 2-0 at home. Since that major triumph over CCB back in October that moved them into a share of the top four, NorVan have steadily sank down the table. Decent outings that earned them a share of the points against the likes of West Van and Coquitlam have been overshadowed by the fact that they have one just once since beating CCB and that was, predictably, against Campo. They have also lost to relegation threatened Richmond and have 49 minutes that will be played on this coming Tuesday night to avoid also dropping points to relegation threatened Guildford. It would appear that NorVan are, for all intents and purposes, just trying to coast towards the finish line given that they are all but mathematically safe from the drop and also excluded from a top six finish, as they sit ten points away from both of those scenarios. For CCB there is a slight wrinkle in the growing rumblings that star man Victor Blasco will be signing for Pacific FC in the CPL. How that might affect his availability for the Surrey side moving forward remains to be seen, but for the short term at least we can bet on it being all systems go and a fairly straight forward outing for high flying CCB in this one.
Richmond Hibernian v Pegasus
Away from the battles for Provincial Cup places and league title glory, we find Richmond and Pegasus limping along at the bottom of the table. Richmond's seemingly routine 3-1 loss to Croatia last week made official something we have known for awhile now, the current top seven in the league will be staying up. However, what of Pegasus? We have seemingly been waiting for the horsemen to pull out of their struggles all year now, but, instead, the sunk to a new low last time out, gifting woeful Campo their first point of the campaign. Pegasus look listless and nervous at the moment, with seemingly no answer for when things start to go wrong. They lack cohesion and vision but, even more concerning, they lack goal scoring. Co-leading scorer Daniel Sagno is rumoured to have returned to his native Winnipeg in hopes of catching on with CPL side Valour FC which former Whitecaps man Sahil Sandhu and talisman Javid Khan have not been able to produce their typical offensive numbers this season. Even the return of Pegasus stalwart Chetan "CJ" Jhooty has not been enough to spark last season's runners up. They currently sit six points up on the drop with their next two matches coming against the two teams, Richmond and Guildford, who are battling for survival. A pair of wins from these matches would all but make them safe, guaranteeing no worse than a playoff for survival. However, at the moment, and especially coming off their poor performance against Campo, it is difficult to see them taking maximum points. Losing both matches will leave the Surrey side once more perilously close to the drop. A closer look at Richmond would appear to indicate that they are still up for this fight. A pre-holiday victory of NorVan got them back on level footing with Guildford on nine points. True, they followed that up with scoreless losses to Rovers and West Van, but they took the lead over Croatia last time out and will look to take the positives from that match forward into this week. They now play the bottom three teams, outside of themselves, over the next three weeks and this stretch looks set to either doom them or save them. Peg certainly appear to be vulnerable and, at home, surely Richmond fancy themselves here. I will back the boys from below sea level as well and say that the relegation battle escalates further after this weekend!
Campo Atletico v Rino's Tigers
Credit to Campo for earning their first point of the season last week in a 1-1 draw with Pegasus. While it may sound like an insincere statement, it is not. Plenty of teams would have simply folded up shop after the start of the season that they had. However, instead they regrouped and soldiered on. Once more, after yet another lopsided loss two weeks ago to CCB, they resisted and desire to throw in the towel and were rewarded last time out. In truth, Peg had more than enough chances to be safely out of sight before halftime in that match and the draw likely speaks more to their shortcomings, however, credit must go to Campo as well. Despite being largely on the back foot, heads never dropped and, when their opening came, they took it with aplomb. Unfortunately for them their reward is a date with yet another high powered offense in Rino's. Back when these two sides were in Division 1 together, Rino's were somewhat of an arch nemesis for Campo and these encounters could be relied on to be hotly contested affairs. Now though, Campo are clearly unlikely to offer too much of a problem for the Vancouver side. That being said, they will surely arrive with a game plan and will be prepared to battle valiantly. Rino's, however, are unlikely to be as generous as Pegasus were when it comes to spurning chances. It is not a complete slam dunk though, as Rino's have shown in the past that they are more than capable of dropping unexpected points. They are also in far from top form at the minute, having just one point and one goal through two games back from the winter break. Campo should provide a springboard for them to get their groove back, but, then again, this is why we don't play the games on paper.
Guildford v Croatia
Sitting just one point out of first place, Croatia head to Surrey to try and ensure that they finish the weekend in no worse a position than where they began it. After a brief scare against Richmond last week, the Europeans will be focused on completing the sweep of the bottom teams, having previously seen off Campo and Peg. There is really no room for error at all for Croatia in the title race, given that CCB and Rovers are capable of vaulting of them should they win their games in hand. Of the three sides outside of themselves that you would consider to have the best odds at the title (West Van, Rovers and CCB), Croatia play only CCB down the stretch. This could be looked at as favourable given that that points to their strength of schedule as being slightly weaker than their chief rivals, however, on the flip side, it leaves them unable to directly control their own fate. For Guildford, their battle is at the bottom. After this match, the newly promoted side enter a crucial stretch that is likely to settle their relegation fate. In mid-week they will complete the final 49 minutes of their match against NorVan that was suspended before the holidays. They will pick up the match at 0-0 and even holding on for a single point could prove the difference when the final points are added up. After that they play the other bottom teams in succession, though the Imperial Cup is likely to upset that run of matches. Regardless, Guildford must pick up points from those games and going three for three, as they did the first time through the schedule, would be a major boost to their chances. The Surrey sides Jekyll and Hyde form will need to find some stability if they are to survive and a good performance this week against Croatia would be a great way to start. Any points they could take would be real bonus points in the relegation battle, though it is probably a lot to ask to expect them to come away with something from this one. They are likely to have to settle for a solid outing and some positives to carry forward into their stretch drive against a Croatia side with their eyes firmly fixed on their challenge for the title.
Last night's Inter-Rovers Tigers match was a cracker.
BCT dominated first half and should have had about five goals to show for all their pressure. They only had one though, a nice turn and finish from Nick Soolsma. Despite their dominance, Inter should have tied it up just before half time but flashed an effort just past the left post.
I don't know what was said to Inter at half time but they were a completely different looking team at the start of the second and really took the game to Tigers. It was wave after wave, with the Surrey lads either happy to soak it up and try and and hit on the counter or unable to get anything going.
Then what looked like the game changing moment came when Inter's Marco Visintin was sent off for dissent after being called for encroaching on an indirect free kick that had already been touched on to Soolsma. It was a second yellow (he'd just picked up his first for dissent to give away the free kick!) and off he went, pushing the ref and launching an expletive laden tirade as he went.
Inter were starting to unravel and questioning a lot of the ref's calls, who, to be fair, was having something of a mare of a second half. he warned Mo on the sidelines that one more word and he'd send him off. Mo told him he was going anyway and left with another expletive laden rant that seemed to last for over a minute! (you can hear a part of it on the video)
Looked like Tigers were set for the three points before, Randy Orton from out of nowhere style, Rizal Ganief first timed a beauty into the top corner in stoppage time to grab a point.
Here's the goals and some of the other highlights (including the sending off and subsequent meltdown). Pretty shitty quality though in general. Those Van Tech lights and orange strips are not a good mix for my crappy old camera. Enjoy!