Village Manchester put in an impressive performance as they swept aside Manchester Club Football II 5-0.
Braces from Kirkham and Holmes were followed by a sublime solo goal from Connell as the team completed the double over the opposition – scoring 13 in the process.
Village were able to put out a strong team for the penultimate league game of the season – and they even welcomed a return from a Village veteran.
Stu Johnson returned to the line-up – a number of years after his last appearance for the club – and he joined Connell and McNaught in the centre of midfield as they provided support for wingers Panos and Kirkham and the lone striker Holmes. McPherson and Aleixo continued their partnership in the central defence with Feis-Bryce and Dornan on the left and right respectively. Baker returned between the sticks in place of Toland and Hall warmed the bench as he made his comeback from injury.
It was a dream start for Village as they took the lead almost immediately. Baker took one of his customary long kicks and the ball cleared the defence via a deft flick on from Holmes. Kirkham was very alert and raced onto the ball to go one on one with the keeper. The Man United fan made no mistake and slotted the ball past the keeper to give Village a very early lead. 1-0
The early goal gave Village the confidence to pass the ball on the ground and trust in their abilities and this resulted in the team putting together a number of good passing moves. The team soon doubled their advantage – and it was from one of these passing moves. Following a spell of possession the ball was delivered in to Holmes from the left. The striker, being closely marked by a defender, smartly went around the opposition player and, with a better angle to shoot from, he smashed the ball into the bottom left corner. 2-0
Village took an even greater stranglehold on the game as Holmes doubled his tally to get the team’s third with 35 minutes gone. Feis-Bryce found Holmes with a throw in deep in the opposition half and the Liverpool supporter had a moment of inspiration as he back heeled the ball through the defender’s legs and ran onto his pass to create some space in the box. With the keeper to beat, Holmes got a good enough contact on the finish for it to beat the despairing dive of the keeper. 3-0
Village did have other chances in the half and Johnson can feel that he was unlucky as his header from a corner was smartly tipped over by the Manchester Club Football keeper.
The half time whistle blew with Village pleased with a confident and creative first half.
Half time: VMFC2 3-0 Manchester Club Football II
At half time manager Hall encouraged the team to take further control of the game and asked them to keep the ball on the ground as any Hollywood balls resulted in Village losing possession.
The next goal would be vital as a goal for Manchester Club Football could see the opposition stage a fight back whilst a goal for Village would put the game beyond doubt. Hall came on in the place of Holmes in a move that saw a number of players moved about.
Village’s pressure saw the team win numerous corners and McPherson nearly scored from one of them. Manchester Club Football only half cleared a corner via a deflection and Johnson stretched to keep the ball in and turn it towards the six yards box. The ball bounced up off a defender and sat up for the McPherson to hit. Unfortunately the Northern Irishman didn’t get over the ball enough and he saw his effort go over.
Manchester Club Football did have a couple of chances to get back into the game but once they finally got past a solid midfield, the defence mainly restricted them to shots from outside the box or from acute angles. Baker had a fairly quiet evening – but when he was called upon he did what was required. There was a fright or two with a couple of close offside decisions and Baker did well to stop any shots that were on target.
Village finally did get their fourth and it was a goal that provided the team with a comfortable cushion. Holmes came back on for the tiring McNaught and he received the ball on the wing from Feis-Bryce before running towards the goal. With a hat-trick beckoning, Holmes selflessly squared the ball across to the onrushing Kirkham who nipped in front of a defender to knock the ball into the bottom right corner. 4-0
Village thought they had got the fifth when Johnson fired home following a ball through but the goal was harshly ruled out for offside. Kirkham was offside but he left the ball for Johnson knowing he himself was off but that Johnson was on. Kirkham also fell foul of a close offside decision whilst Holmes had a couple of credible penalty shouts turned down.
Village finally did get their fifth of the game and the goal was the pick of the bunch. Connell took possession of the ball a good distance away from goal but thanks to some good close control and a burst of pace, he dribbled around tackles and got away from markers before putting the ball around the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. Not a bundle in sight! 5-0
Holmes was desperate for a hat-trick and he tried to do it in a spectacular way with minutes remaining. A cross was delivered in from the right and Holmes attempted a bicycle kick. Unfortunately he didn’t connect with it as he would have liked and the ball ran away, with Kirkham, who was screaming for the ball to be left to hit on the volley, also denied a hat-trick.
Village can be delighted with their performance in this game. From back to front every player put in a good shift and some of the moves that were put together were slick and progressive – something that has been developed on the training pitch and brought into a competitive game.
The defence kept the opposition at bay with a number of crunching tackles and by being one step ahead of the opposition attackers and nicking the balls of their toes. Connell and McNaught’s calmness and experience in the middle was invaluable and the interplay, passing and shooting of Johnson, Kirkham, Panos and Holmes was constantly a thorn in Manchester Club Football’s side.
Full time: VMFC2 5-0 Manchester Club Football II
Village has one game remaining in the league – a return fixture against St James Community. With uncertainty over whether this game will take place due to circumstances surrounding the first fixture, Village will have to wait and see if the season is now over.
Village are currently fourth in the league table. The three remaining points up for grabs against St James aren’t enough for the team to climb higher. Fifth place Real Mancs FC have to win both their remaining matches, which is possible but unlikely given the fixtures, to overtake Village. Regardless of whether the St James FC fixture happens it’s likely Village will end the season in its current fourth place – top half of the table after a positive season for our second team.
VMFC2 v Manchester Club Football II
Sunday 23 March 2014