Week 9 VMSL Round-up: Title chase blown wide open as top three all drop points

Week 9 VMSL Round-up: Title chase blown wide open as top three all drop points

The Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) Premier Division standings just got a whole lot tighter after an exciting set of Week 9 results that saw leaders Rino’s Tigers and third placed Croatia SC beaten, and second placed West Van drop two points at home.

The action got underway at Burnaby Lake on Friday night with a real battle between two teams still harbouring championship aspirations, Croatia SC and Club Inter Burnaby EDC.

Croatia looked to be coasting at the half, two goals up thanks to Milan Gandesha’s opener and Joel Padmore adding a second just before the break. But Inter came storming back in the second, with Colin Streckmann reducing the deficit to one in the 65th minute before Brendan Shaw tied things up ten minutes later.

Both sides pushed for the winner, but it was Inter that got it two minutes from time from leading scorer Mohammed Habib’s sixth of the season. But the action wasn’t over just yet, with Habib seeing red after picking up his second yellow card of the night in stoppage time, which will certainly be a loss for Inter next match.

There was another tight battle between two top teams up at Newton, in a Battle of the Tigers that saw last year’s champs BCT Rovers Tigers United knock off this season’s league leaders Rino’s Tigers 1-0 in a fiery encounter that saw three players and BCT coach Rob Jandric sent off and six bookings.

Rino’s dominated the first half possession, but weren’t able to find a way past the Provincial Cup winner, and it was Rovers who took the lead against the run of play Pavi Dhillon (pictured above) fired one in with the aid of the keeper. Rino’s continued to look the more dangerous side in the second but the woodwork and some excellent Rovers defending saw the National champs grab three huge points.

Frustrations were running high by the end of this one with Rovers’ Pavi Dhillon and Harpreet Khakh, and Rino’s James Taylor, all seeing red after picking up second yellow cards for some handbags.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves were the other big winners at Newton on Friday night, dismantling Pegasus 6-1 after a first half Adam Jones hat-trick, a brace from Carlo Basso, and sixth in stoppage time from Eric Dove.

Jones got the goalscoring underway in the first minute but the Horsemen tied it up in the 15th minute through Rajan Dhadwal. Jones grabbed his second to put Coquitlam back ahead five minutes later and the Wolves never looked back after that, with Jones completing his hat-trick two minutes before half time. Pegasus meanwhile still find themselves in a fierce battle to avoid the drop.

Richmond’s Minoru Park played host to the last of the Friday night action as Guildford made it back to back wins with a huge 5-1 win over fellow strugglers Hibernian, with all the goals coming in the second half.

Gurinder Pannu put Guildford ahead in the 49th minute but Hamzah Gurung tied things up for Richmond seven minutes later. Guildford then took over with both Dipinder Gill and Viniel Chand hitting braces.

Those results left West Van knowing that three points from their home game against CCB LFC United would see the Amblesiders hit the summit. But the Surrey side had other ideas, taking the lead ten minutes before half time with Milad Mehrabi’s 10th of the season. West Van fought back to tie things up through Michael Winter three minutes past the hour mark, but they had to settle for a share of the points and remain in second spot in the standings.

The last match of the weekend saw Campo Atletico’s woes continue, going down to a heavy 7-0 thumping at NVFC Norvan, and for the second time this season Blake Burgon bagged four goals, striking in the 29th, 32nd, 42nd, and 55th minutes, after Jonathan Huggins had opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Late goals from Marius Clobanu and Gavin Barrett rounded off the scoring.

That win moved Norvan to within four points of the top and keeps the already doomed looking Campo pointless and firmly rooted adrift at the bottom.

And after all that, the VMSL Premier standings looks tight at the top and with a real battle at the bottom.

There’s some fantastic action in store this coming weekend, with the pick of the matches taking place at Trillium on Saturday afternoon. It’s a battle of the top two teams and could go a long way to deciding where this year’s championship heads, as Rino’s Tigers host West Van with a 4.05pm kick off. That’s one not to be missed!

Here’s the full Week 10 fixtures in the VMSL Premier:

You can find all the VMSL results, standings, and fixtures across all seven divisions at VMSLsoccer.com, and for all your local football banter, make sure you check out the Take The Piss forums. We also hope to get back out shooting and videoing this weekend.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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