Sunday 26 January 2014
Village Manchester produced a dogged display as they saw off Real Mancs 3-2 at the weekend.
With only 11 players available, manager Hall set the team up with a 3-5-2 formation against a team they have beaten twice and lost once to already this season.
And it was a great start for Village as they went 1-0 up within five minutes. A goal kick from the Real Mancs keeper was plucked out of the air by Jones, whose clever touch found Papademetriou 30 yards out from goal on the right hand side of the pitch. Papademetriou’s first time shot rocketed into the far side of the goal, leaving the opposition keeper with absolutely no chance.
Real Mancs took this setback in their stride and it was not long until they threatened Baker’s goal. Their number 15 was the first to go close as he expertly controlled a ball over the top. Luckily for Village, his shot was not as good and he blasted wide. Baker was soon called into action though as he had to push away a stinging 20 yard shot minutes later.
Village doubled their lead with 15 minutes gone as Langford, who was captain for the day, nipped in in front of an opposition attacker and sent Holmes free with a cracking through ball with the outside of his boot. Holmes made his way towards the goal, produced a clever step over to get past the keeper and slotted the ball home from an acute angle.
Real Mancs got one goal back straight away however as their number 15 dinked the ball over the onrushing Baker after finding some space in the box.
Village had opportunities to regain their two goal lead but were unable to find a way past the keeper. Firstly Holmes shot straight at the keeper after taking advantage of a poor defensive header then Papademetriou shot wide from a tight angle. The Cypriot attacker then saw his shot blocked after he collected Jones’ smart pass.
Village were left to rue these misses as Real Mancs drew level. An attacker produced a clever turn to find some space in the box and his ball across saw number 15 nick in before Baker to poke home.
It looked like the teams would go into the half time break on level terms – that was until Village took advantage of some poor defending. A defensive slip meant that Papademetriou was free in front of goal and, this time, he made no mistake as he curled the ball around the keeper.
Village had one last scare in the first half as Baker had to be alert to dive and hold onto a shot from the Real Mancs number 6.
Half time: Real Mancs 2-3 VMFC2
Real Mancs came out all guns blazing in the second half and Village had to be strong to stop them getting an equaliser. The opposition number 9 had two chances within the first 10 minutes of the half. Firstly he shot just over from 25 yards out and then he shot straight at Baker after creating a chance with a clever flick. The number 15 also had a chance to level the tie but he badly miskicked when free in the box.
After weathering the storm - and changing the formation to 4-4-2 - Village had their own chances to put the game to bed. With 65 minutes gone Papademetriou was denied his hat-trick by a save from the keeper and Holmes dragged the rebound well wide.
Langford almost got his obligatory goal as the goalkeeper let the attacker’s shot go through his legs. The keeper redeemed himself by smothering the ball before it crossed the line.
With just one goal separating the teams, both clubs knew that it would only take one mistake or one piece of brilliance to turn the tide of the game. And it was Village who looked more likely to get the next goal that would be the cushion which would make the final 15 minutes more comfortable.
Mullender headed over from a Langford corner and, not long after, the dangerous Papademetriou shot straight at the keeper after being neatly set up by a Holmes pass. With 10 minutes left Village had another two attempts in quick succession. Firstly, Papademetriou’s effort went over then Reece shot straight at the keeper from a difficult angle.
The last chance of the game fell again to Papademetriou but his stinging shot came off the bar and, with that, the game soon ended with Village tasting victory.
With Real Mancs being directly below Village in the league a positive result was important in this match. Despite the game not being in the style that Village might have hoped, the fact that the team put in a determined effort with a bare 11 - and looked extremely dangerous every time they attacked - the team should be happy with themselves.
The victory sees Village open up an eight point margin over Real Mancs.
The only other game to take place in the league at the weekend saw Audenshaw beat Stockport 8-0.
Full time: Real Mancs 2-3 VMFC2