Sunday 4 March 2012
Village brought South Manchester's 100% record to an end on Sunday as the first team defeated the league leaders 2-0 in Wythenshawe.
Sam Connell's close-range strike put VMFC ahead in the first half before Damien Mooney made sure of the result just before the final whistle.
With a number of players missing, Ant Lockley was forced into some changes from the previous week's 3-3 draw against Iraq FC. Jason McAuley played in goal for the first time since the Eurogames tournament in Rotterdam last summer, while Sam Connell moved back into defence to partner Jez Ure. There was also a welcome return for Sal Alyami, who played his first game for the team since suffering an injury in October.
Village made the better start and ensured the majority of the first twenty minutes was played in the opposition's half. After going close on a couple of occasions, Tom Reece's free kick from the right fell at the feet of Sam Connell and he slammed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.
A second goal looked on the cards when Alex Wilson struck a fine shot from 25 yards but a stunning full-stretch save from the goalkeeper kept their team in it. At the other end, South finally began to find their feet towards the end of the half but a low shot wide of the post was their best effort in the first 45 minutes.
The second half was perhaps predictable, with South pressing on in search of an equaliser and Village looking to defend well and catch them on the counter attack. Sadly, Sal had to limp off with an injury just a few minutes in, although his replacement, Ryan Mullender, came close to making an immediate impact as the ball just evaded him in the penalty area.
The remainder of the half saw South with plenty of possession but rarely able to create a good effort on goal. When they did, McAuley was equal to it, keeping out a low shot at his near post as the opposition got behind the VMFC defence.
Village finally managed to get hold of the ball in the final ten minutes, which helped to relieve some of the pressure on the defence. Then, a through ball to Mooney allowed the striker to net his 21st goal of the season with just a couple of minutes to go, delivering a low left foot shot into the back of the net.
The victory certainly makes the remainder of the league season more interesting, with South having to face the other top four teams several times as they look to hold on to their lead at the top.
For Village, the win gives them momentum and an outside chance of maintaining a challenge for the league. Next week's fixture is against Saints