Iraq FC v VMFC1
Sunday 13 October 2013
Village Manchester's first team returned to league action after a two week break to comprehensively beat a depleted Iraq FC team 8-0 at Hough End on Sunday, compliments of a Jordan Langford hat trick and five other goals from five individual players.
The impressive and clinical display continued the trend of recent encounters between the sides with last season seeing Village score 15 goals over home and away fixtures, making it an incredible 23 goals scored in three games against Iraq FC.
Despite the odds being stacked in Village Manchester's favour, Iraq FC have proved league games at Hough End can be a leveller and have proved this by inflicting a shock 1-0 defeat on former league champions Miam Miam only three weeks ago.
Nothing was left to chance this week and Village fielded a strong attacking team that only saw one change from the last game, with the gaffer dropping himself and introducing Baker back in between the sticks after a four week holiday back home in America. The outfield starting 10 remained unchanged from the 5-1 victory over Saints FC.
Unbelievably, as the referee prepared to get the game underway, Iraq FC started the game with only 9 men with a 10th to follow as the first half progressed. In contrast, the Village team had been on the pitch since 10.30am and it showed. The emphasis was forgetting the numerical advantage and continuing to play the brand of football the team had delivered in the first four games of the season.
From the first whistle, Village passed the ball around well, moving it across the defence and switching play regularly. Not surprisingly, possession was almost all one way traffic with Iraq FC encamped on the edge of their box for long periods. In the first 15 minutes Village had five opportunities to score but some patient and clever passing in the build up lacked the quality required to finish. In part a difficult pitch made it tough going but a spirited Iraq team also defended for their lives and cleared the ball to safety with several last ditch tackles.
The breakthrough came just after the quarter of an hour mark and from a set piece corner. The ball was delivered into the box and for once and the Iraq team failed to clear. The ball bobbled around inside the six yard box and there was even a suspicion of hand ball but VMFC Captain Sam Connell was first to react to stab the ball past the helpless Iraq keeper. A scrappy goal but the deadlock was broken and Village could go about putting the game out of reach before half time.
To their credit Iraq FC continued to make life as difficult as possible for Village with stubborn defending and the occasional breakaway. Village however have been playing some fantastic, quick passing football this season and with the numerical advantage always had options which they exploited fully. Strangely, this proved to be a difficult problem for both Paul's playing upfront, with so little space behind the Iraq FC defence, they relied heavily on the final ball being inch perfect which on a pitch at Hough End is not an easy task.
The second and third goals finally arrived on 25 and 27 mins, the first from Langford who lashed a 25 yard bullet that totally deceived the Iraq keeper who was left rooted to the spot as the ball flew past him. The third was simply a lesson for the younger lads in the squad in how to turn a defender before a delicate and sublime chip over the keepers head into the far corner of the goal. Take a bow Village FC's answer to Cliff Richard...Jez Ure!
The half time whistle couldn't come quickly enough for Iraq FC and Village went in to the break 3-0 up without moving out of third gear.
Half time: Iraq FC 0-3 VMFC1
The message at half time was clear, use the opportunity the game gave to dust off the cobwebs from a two week break and continue to move the ball. The rest would take care of itself.
As the referee got the game underway, it wasn't long for the fourth goal to arrive, a nice build up wide on the left resulted in the ball being crossed into the middle which Carter picked up and cool as you like slotted the ball past the keeper.
Baker, who had hardly touched the ball in the first half, was on hand to provide an option for the defence on the odd occasion Iraq FC were allowed to keep the ball for any length of time. Each time the full backs were brought into the game and provided support to the wide midfield players. Some great work in the middle of the pitch from Connell and Alex Wilson maintained control of the middle of the park and allowed attack after attack to come through some positive runs from Langford and Reece who played wide left and right.
Some good work from both Carter and Golds up front also helped link up play with the midfield players and unfortunately for both, the opportunities to score were few and far between because they became providers rather than benefitting from the space they could expect from a more equally balanced game.
The fifth goal, which was Jordan's second, arrived on 56 mins when he calmly slotted the ball past the keeper having cut inside from the left side of the 18 yard box.
With the game now practically over, Jason decided to give Paul Golds and Ant Parkin a rest, making a straight swap for Steve Clayton and a first team debut for Panos who had made an impressive debut for the second team the week before.
Both players got involved immediately with some good attacking play, the absence of any real threat from Iraq FC effectively gave both full backs license to push forward and join each attack at will.
A great team performance was capped off by a great individual performance and hatrick for Langforf who benefitted from some terrific play down the right and a pin point accurate cross to the far post from Reece, leaving Langford the job of heading the ball back across the goal into the bottom corner. 6-0 with 15 minutes still to play.
Two goals in the final 10 minutes wrapped things up, the first a rare goal for Hardern who found himself in the box to score his first goal for the first team by dancing through the tired Iraq FC defence to slot home and the eighth goal coming compliments of a neat finish from James Wilson from one yard out.
The game ended with the score at 8-0 and it could have been far more. More importantly, it was another win which left Village Manchester the only unbeaten team in the league after the weekend's results. The team finished the game with no injuries, 90 minutes in the bank after a two week break and sets the team up nicely for a series of far tougher tests against strong opposition. That starts this weekend against Lawds at home, a team who despite their league position, will be battle hardened after an incredibly tough start to their campaign against top of the table sides. A massive test for Village Manchester is on the cards but one the team should go into brimming with confidence and looking to continue the positive start to the league this season.
Full time: Iraq FC 0-8 VMFC1
Other league results:
Deloitte 1 - 6 South Manchester
Mace 1 - 4 PWC
Miam Miam 5 - 4 Lawds