Sunday 8 December 2013
Village Manchester's first team returned to league action following two consecutive weeks of cup action. Although the competition changed, the result didn't as they went down 1-0 to Saints at the University pitches.
After going out to GCJT and Vida in the FA County Cup and Handi-Cup respectively, Village were looking to get back to winning ways against a Saints side that they defeated 5-1 earlier in the season thanks to goals from Connell, Carter and a hat trick from Golds.
Village set themselves up with three at the back with Papademetriou and Clayton as wingbacks. McNaught continued his return from injury by taking his place in midfield alongside Connell and Alex Wilson. Jones kept his starting place, following his goal last week, as he partnered Golds up front.
It was a decent start from Village as they put together some good passes on a fairly muddy pitch which saw a number of players slipping at inopportune times.
The good start from the first five minutes came undone though when Saints went ahead with their first attack. A long throw from the right made its way into the six yard box where McAuley tried to clear. There was just too much power on the ball as it skimmed off his head and found a Saints player unmarked at the back post who was able to prod home. 1-0
The goal gave the opposition confidence and they had three more chances to extend their lead before Village had their first real chance.
An awful cross field pass from James Wilson was intercepted by a Saints striker 30 yards out. Luckily for Wilson the striker elected to shot first time and his shot sailed over the bar. McAuley then had to come to Village's rescue as he deflected a shot wide from an attack that came too easily down the left flank.
Their best chance came when another long throw found the head of a Saints attacker. The header was going in until Baker got a touch which saw the ball hit the bar and was hacked to safety.
Village did manage to end the half strongly though as they had a number of chances of their own. A splendid Golds corner managed to evade everyone and the lack of a touch was again important as Papademetriou, running across the keeper, was unable to get on the end of a free kick.
Five minutes later Papademetriou blazed over from 20 yards and Golds was only able to find the keeper's arms as he got on to the end of a great ball in from McNaught.
Connell had the last shot of the half as his attempt went narrowly over the bar.
Half time: VMFC1 0-1 Saints
VMFC1 v Saints
The second half started as the first finished with Village having the best of the game.
With 50 minutes gone, Jones was pushed wide after rounding the keeper. He tried to cross in for an onrushing Village attacker but a defender got in first and cleared the ball. Jones again had a chance as he got onto the end of a flick on from McAuley's corner. Unfortunately for him he couldn't get the effort on target and it went wide.
Village soon made two changes as Reece came on for Papademetriou and, not long after, Holmes came on for Jones.
Village were given a warning of Saints ability as another long throw in was headed just over. They had the best of the remainder of the game however and their best chance came with 15 minutes to go.
Alex Wilson, who had another energetic game in the centre of midfield, delivered a great through ball that found Golds on the right. Golds selflessly delivered the ball into the six yard box where Connell's attempt was blocked at point blank range by the keeper. The ball trickled across the box where Holmes managed to get an effort in. However, some brave defending saw the shot deflected off the line and away for a corner.
Village's final attempt fell to McNaught as the ball came to him inside the box following headers from Holmes and J Wilson. His shot was straight at the keeper who would have been glad it wasn't further out of reach.
The last chances of the game went to Saints as they tried to double their lead. A slip from McAuley saw a Saints striker make his way towards goal. Keeper Baker parried the striker's shot and the rebound was smashed wide by another Saints attacker. The American again kept the opposition out as a Saints player shot straight at him when one on one.
The full time whistle soon followed and saw Village end the calendar year with a loss.
Despite the result there were positives to take as the performance saw better work rate and effort than in previous games and some good football was played in the first half.
The first team now head into the winter break but they will be itching to kick off 2014 in a positive manner when they face Miam Miam on 5 January.
Full time: VMFC1 0-1 Saints