Rino’s Fury 1 – NK Hrvat -1
The much anticipated 2013/14 season kicked off Saturday with an afternoon fixture away to NK Hrvat at Memorial Turf. The newly demoted Div 1 side would prove to be a good first test for the Fury. With a tough pre-season camp and a few new international DP additions to the squad (Keith O’Carroll, Guy Packham and Diego Marchi), the team looked to improve on last years season and challenge for promotion once again . First teamer, Brent Hanson also joined the squad after long-term injury struggles held him out of action last season, no doubt bolstering the Fury back line this year. A couple of missing players this year were stand out winger, Francois Clark, defender Evan Jones and last years captain, Vincent Martin, definitely leaving a hole to fill for this years squad.
The game got underway with a strong start by the Fury, showing early signs of composure, hustle and a team-first mentality, putting NK Hrvat on the backheel. A few decent chances were created, but the Fury were unable to capitalize on them. Strong defensive play, left Hrvat with little, opportunity to create anything dangerous going forward. In the 30th minute, Fury midfielder Francarlos Leon was given a (questionable) straight red after a coming together in the Hrvat 6 yard box. A man down with an hour to go would be a tough test to start the season for any team, but this only seemed to spark the Fury into action. A physical game continued into half time with a 0-0 scoreline.
NK Hrvat came out strong in the 2nd half, starting to show signs of being a man up. 5 minutes in, a nice passing play by the opposition ended with a cross into the box that bounced around and was unable to be cleared, only to fall to a Hrvat midfielder at the top of the box who smashed it through several bodies and made it through goalkeeper Nathan Verbeeks legs, barely seeing it.
The game shifted a bit as Hrvat seemed content with holding onto the dangerous 1-0 lead. The Fury pressed for an equalizer but came up short on a few occasions. A scrappy game continued with a few more yellows being handed out. On a 70th minute corner, the big defensive pairing of Hanson and O’Carroll combined for the Fury’s first goal of the 21013/14 season. A beautifully whipped in corner by Wilhelm to the far post was headed back across goal by O’Carroll, where a waiting Hanson was there to pounce on it and blasted a well placed shot into the right side of the net. The Rino’s men continued to push for 3 points, seemingly unsatisfied with a tie, finding weaknesses in the Hrvat defense. Strong play by second half sub, Packham, earning his first cap, impressed with composure and provided several quality balls up to strikers and wingers creating chances to take the lead. In the 85th minute, 3
points were surely locked up as a shot by striker Cougny was parried to Shih who missed from close range, unable to complete the comeback.
The fans were pleased as the final whistle blew. A quality performance by the Rino’s Fury to build on as the season progresses.
Man of the Match: Keith O’Carroll
Team: Verbeek, Atkinson (Packham), Hanson, O’Carroll, Hawkins, Cougny, Sanders (Arceneaux), Leon, Wilhelm (Sanders), Pace, Solven (Shih)
Goals: Brent Hanson
Assists: Keith O’Carroll
The next match against Caspian FC will be played Sunday September 15th @ 4pm, Point Grey Turf.