Sunday 7 April 2013
VMFC's cup run came to an end as a series of missed chances resulted in a 2-1 loss to Mace.
With Jason picking up a hamstring injury the previous day while on referee duties, James Hardern came back into the starting XI at centre back.
Things got off to a poor start when Mace capitalised on a misplaced pass on the halfway line. Their pacey right winger was sent through on goal unmarked and the ball sat up perfectly to allow him to lob the helpless Jeremy in goal.
Despite the early setback, Village went on to dominate the remainder of the first half. Goldsie and Alex had chances to equalise before James Wilson made the scores level on 20 minutes. A long throw-in from Tom was flicked on by Sam and, after Alex couldn't quite connect with a left foot shot, James made no mistake to continue his impressive scoring record.
Mace looked very shaky at the back and a series of golden opportunities were created by Manchester, only for chance after chance to go begging without the goalkeeper being tested. The manager, composed to the hill, took a leaf out of his predecessor's playbook by booting everything he could find on the touchline.
Sadly, the first half also saw what looks like the end of the captain's season as Jay was forced off with a nasty looking knee injury that had him in considerable pain. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
The second half was a much more even affair, with Mace getting out of the blocks a bit quicker. A golden chance went begging when their right winger had a free header from a corner but sent it over the bar. However, the opposition didn't have to wait too long to go ahead for the second time in the match. Again a corner was VMFC's undoing and, after failing to clear an initial effort, the rebound was fired in to the corner of the goal to put Mace 2-1 up.
The signs that this wasn't going to be Village's day were getting bigger when Tom thumped a 30 yard free kick off the inside of the post. Pressure was mounting on the Mace goal as a series of corners tested their defence and substitute goalkeeper but the game ended on a rather sour note with Ash catching a defender with his boot and receiving a punch for his troubles. A red card swiftly followed but by then the time had run out and the semi-final place went to Mace.
A very disappointing day for VMFC as a real chance to advance in the cup went begging. The injury to Jay will be a concern, as will the team's lack of goals this season. However, there are four league games remaining in a very tight division and plenty of opportunity to gain some momentum leading into the summer tournaments in Dublin and Antwerp.