Sunday 23 March 2014
Village Manchester returned to league action following a free week but they turned in a disappointing performance as they went down 2-1 to rivals Mace.
The result, which sees Mace do the double over Village, means that the first team have not tasted victory in the league for seven matches – a run stretching back to November.
Village made one change to their starting line up from their successful cup game against Price Waterhouse as Clayton replaced McPherson. McNaught, Hall and Jones took their places on the bench.
It was worrying start for Village as a missed header from McAuley saw the number 9 race into the area and cross for a Mace striker. Luckily Village got a player in the way of the shot and the ball was deflected over for a corner. Mace did have the ball in the net a minute later – but their effort was correctly, if belatedly, disallowed following a foul on Wilson.
Village had their first chance of the game on 10 minutes as Golds nipped the ball off a Mace defender and made his way towards goal. Unfortunately the Man City fan pulled his shot wide under pressure from both the onrushing keeper and a backtracking defender.
On the quarter hour mark Village were given another scare as the opposition number 17 ran through unopposed and delivered a ball to the number 9. The number 9 controlled the ball well and ran towards goal. The good build up play was spoilt however as he shot badly wide.
Village did not heed these warnings and found themselves 1-0 down a couple of minutes later. On the left hand side of the pitch McAuley let the ball bounce instead of clearing first time. This allowed a Mace player to take control of the ball and pass across to a free striker who left Baker with no chance. 0-1
One immediately became two and again it was McAuley who was at fault. The player/manager was in possession of the ball out on the right and inexplicably passed the ball back inside – right onto the toes of a grateful Mace striker. The striker still had a bit to do but he did it well as he lobbed the ball over the onrushing Baker and into the net. 0-2
Village responded to this quick-fire double by having a few chances of their own. Reece was alert as he nicked the ball off the right back and shot towards goal – but his effort was just wide. Minutes later Golds set up Carter but the striker’s shot was weak and easily fielded by the keeper. The keeper had another weak shot to gather as Holmes controlled well and shot from a smart Clayton pass.
In the middle of all this Mace had another chance to increase their lead as the Village defence again let the ball bounce near the box. Mace’s number 9 took advantage of this mistake by nipping in and smacking the ball off the bar and out of play.
The half ended with Wilson adding to his growing list of yellow cards with another booking.
Half time: VMFC1 0-2 Mace
The half time team talk saw McAuley ask for the team to up their effort and quality and he implored the players to play the ball on the ground instead of launching long balls which the Mace defence were gobbling up like a fat kid gobbles up his seventh slice of pie!
The second half almost got off to an awful start however as a missed Hardern header saw McAuley bring down a Mace striker in the box as he tried to clear. The referee didn’t give anything and this saw the Mace number 7 continue with his constant surly critique of the official.
Mace had another goal chalked off for offside soon after and the number 14 also had a chance as he shot wide.
With 55 mins on the clock, McNaught came on for Holmes and the formation changed in the hope that Village could get back into the game.
Village had taken on board their manager’s instructions to get the ball down more and they started to put together some nice moves – and Carter almost got Village on the scoreboard with two chances in as many minutes. Firstly he headed Reece’s free kick towards goal where it was just cleared, then he had a shot blocked by the keeper.
With 15 minutes left Village did get a goal back as they scored from the penalty spot. Wilson was pushed inside the box and Reece stepped up to hammer the ball into the roof of the net. 1-2
The goal signalled the end of Clayton’s game and he was replaced by Jones.
Village had Hardern to thank for keeping them in touching distance of the opposition as his last ditch block stopped an almost certain goal with 10 minutes remaining.
The game came to a rather anti-climactic ending as the referee blew for time following a 50-50 challenge between Wilson and the Mace keeper which left the keeper in pain on the ground and the opposing players taking part in some amateur dramatics as a number of arms were raised.
The second half display was much improved from the first half showing and it shows what the team can do when they get the ball down and let their football do the talking.
Unfortunately the poor showing in the first half left the team with too much of a mountain to climb and the scoreline is an accurate reflection of the game.
Full time: VMFC1 1-2 Mace