Sunday 10 November 2013
Following last week's disappointing first defeat of the season, Village bounced back in style with a comprehensive 4-0 win against newly promoted Sporting Manchester at Wythenshawe.
This fixture was the first 'return' league fixture of the season for Village having played out a 1-1 draw against Sporting in the very first game of the season. On that occasion, despite plenty of possession, Village struggled to break down a well organised defence and whilst Sporting have struggled to win games this season, no team had scored many goals against this team and with conditions under foot being very heavy, a tough encounter was expected.
It was clear from the off, the Village players were looking to put last week's result well and truly to bed and pressed forward with real purpose from the whistle. Sporting were pinned back and within the first 10 minutes of the first half were forced to concede five corners in quick succession. Unfortunately for Village none were converted but it was a sign of their intent for the rest of the match.
On the 15 minute mark, the first real chance of the half fell to Carter who raced onto a through ball before taking it into the box - however some last ditch defending thwarted the Village forward just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Village continued to press forward with some patient build up across the back and into dangerous wide positions but some stubborn defending ensured that the end product of a dangerous cross into the box was not as forthcoming as it should have been given the amount of possession. That said, Sporting Manchester were certainly not looking to sit back and defend and looked to exploit Village on the break. Several attacks looked as though they would cause Village problems but some very good defending from both defence and midfield meant Baker was largely unemployed between the sticks.
The breakthrough came on 25 mins and deservedly went to Village when Holmes, who was making his second start for the first team, was sent through on goal. The Village player had plenty to do from 30 yards out and had defenders breathing down his neck but, having managed to dodge a desperate last ditch tackle, he took the ball on and calmly slotted past the keeper. 1-0 Village.
This seemed to spur Sporting into action having sat back and tried to absorb the pressure in the first 25 mins. A heavy pitch made it difficult for Village to get into their rhythm and Sporting were only too glad to capitalise with several breaks pushing Village back to the edge of their area.
Unlike the previous week, the Village back four looked far more resolute and supported by graft and hard work of the ball from the midfield resulted in most attacks coming to nothing and Baker in goal remaining largely redundant.
Half time: VMFC1 1-0 Sporting Manchester
The half time team talk highlighted the difference between the first 25 mins of the first half and the last 20 mins, from a position of dominance Village had not taken full advantage and instead let trivial issues get in the way of focusing on the job in hand. On the plus side the team were 1-0 up and had more than enough in the tank to take the game by the scruff of the neck and win the game with a better cushion than one goal.
From the off the players started with the same intent as the first 25 mins, getting much tighter to their opposite player and starving them of space in the middle. This hard work was not always the prettiest but it gave the team the platform to push on. Golds and Reece worked hard up and down the lines both in and out of possession and with Langford and Connell getting a strong grip of the central midfield position, the full backs were able to push on and support each attacking opportunity.
The crucial second goal came courtesy of pressure that led to a free kick on 55 mins over on the wide right hand side. Surprisingly, Reece volunteered his services to take the free kick and to his credit delivered a superb ball across the six yard box which James Wilson couldn't fail to miss with his header past the helpless keeper. 2-0 Village.
The goal seemed to knock the wind out of the Sporting players sails but Village were in no mood to take their foot of the pedal. Led by captain Connell in midfield, who worked his significant backside off to win possession and the midfield battle, was the provider and link to the front players on countless occasions. Ure continued to marshall the back four with Hardern and Clayton bombing forward at every opportunity.
Village almost added a third on 65 mins when some fantastic work from Carter saw him dance past two defenders and with only the keeper to beat, blasted over the bar. It wasn't turning out to be a typical Sunday for Carter who has been scoring plenty of goals this season but like others in the team, was playing a crucial supporting role through the hard work and graft that was required.
The next beneficiary of this hard work was Langford, who himself was having a great second half as Connell's wingman in midfield. On 75 mins the ball was whipped in from the right hand side and Langford ghosted in from the left to slot the ball calmly past the keeper's near post. 3-0 Village.
There was no coming back for Sporting and the final nail in the coffin was delivered with five mins left on the clock when an outstanding performance from Holmes was capped off by a superb individual effort that saw him latch onto a through ball from Carter outside of the box before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball into the empty net. A brace for Holmes who had worked his socks off all game up front. 4-0 Village.
Quite cruelly, that wasn't the final piece of action for Holmes who was then involved in a crunching tackle just outside the area with two mins to go. Rolling around in agony players thought the worst but in the end apart from a bruise on his shin, it was clear the Liverpool supporter had clearly been watching far too much Suarez on the box but rather than risk it, Village gaffer took the player off and played the final two mins with 10 men.
Overall, a great result which was exactly what the doctor ordered after the previous week and lifts the team into thrd position in the league with a tough game against Deloitte on the horizon this weekend at the University.
Full time: VMFC1 4-0 Sporting Manchester