Baptist Academy v VMFC2
Sunday 26 February 2012
VMFC's 2nds capped off an excellent February by defeating Baptist Academy 2-1 on Sunday.
After being put on the back foot for much of the first half, goals from James Hadern and Jordan Langford gave Village a 2-0 lead. A late goal halved the deficit for Baptist but a tremendous save at the death from James Toland ensured Village took three points.
With an injury to Mark Anderson and call-ups to the 1st team, Matt Hall was forced into a couple of changes for this match. Fortunately there were quality replacements available in Sal Alyami, James Hardern and Sam Connell.
The opening exchanges set the tone for the majority of the first half as Baptist moved the ball quickly and forced Toland into two saves. Mindful of the hammering Village received from their opponents earlier in the season, the midfield and attack dropped deeper to minimise the space in their own half. This worked well, with the league leaders continually frustrated in their attempts to land a meaningful shot on goal.
With five minutes of the first half remaining, a long ball from the back caused confusion in the Baptist defence and, after a collision between the goalkeeper and a defender, James Hardern was had the easy job of scoring into an open goal from five yards to give him his first VMFC goal and put the side 1-0 up.
There was certainly acknowledgement that the goal was against the run of play at half time. However, the team were all too conscious of recent performances where a slow start to the 2nd half had cost them points. Fortunately, this didn't look to be the case on this occasion as Village stepped up their play in all areas and gradually matched their opponents across the pitch. Just a few minutes into the second half a free kick went into the box and landed at the feet of Sam Connell but his left foot shot was pulled wide of the post.
With Ash Jones feeling his hamstring, Jordan Langford took to the pitch on the hour mark and was immediately given the opportunity to double VMFC's lead when Jeremy Baker was fouled as he raced into the area. Sadly, Jordan's penalty luck continued and his well-struck shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
There wasn't long before the vital second goal did arrive, though, and it was Langford who made immediate amends. With the ball worked through defence and midfield, the striker was released in the left channel and, with the choice of a square ball or shot, he waited for the goalkeeper to commit before firing the ball home to make it 2-0.
With twenty minutes left on the clock, Chris Mog replaced Johnathan Findlay and Village looked to run out the clock. For the most part things were comfortable at the back, and Baptists' frustrations were clear when they began to pick up bookings for a series of fouls and dissent. Naturally, VMFC don't like to make things too easy on themselves and a mix-up between defence and goalkeeper threatened to give the Academy a way back into the game with five minutes to go. Then, with just a couple of minutes left on the clock, Toland produced a stunning save to turn a shot around the post and guarantee Village the three points.
Final score Baptist Academy 1-2 VMFC2.
It's easy to underestimate the improvement made by the Village 2nd team since Christmas. In the weeks leading up to the break Matt Hall was lucky if he could get 11 people on the pitch. Now, with a handful of good new players and an increased commitment from existing players who have stepped up their game considerably, the team are playing as a unit and deserve full credit for their recent performances.
At the start of the season, the new venture into full time Sunday football was seen as a way to make everyone better 11/side players and to help build towards summer tournaments. Let's hope the remaining games in this campaign can do just that.
Well done boys