Sunday 6 April 2014
Village Manchester returned to league action as they faced title contenders PWC at the University Pitches in Wythenshawe.
Following the previous week’s cup demolition of Vida, the clubs met for the first time this season and it was the league leaders that came away with all three points as they saw Village off 3-0.
With McAuley absent, last week’s hat-trick hero Connell took charge of the team. Edwards and McPherson were drafted in to help Ure at the back whilst Clayton and Aleixo provided the width on the wings. Carter, Connell and McNaught made up the midfield with Golds and Reece supplying the firepower up front. Holmes and Jones took their places on the bench.
Following a delayed start, Village found themselves one down within the first few minutes. McPherson rashly slid in for a loose ball in the penalty box and, despite the defender’s protestations that the striker took a dive, the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty taker made no mistake as he sent Baker the wrong way. 1-0
Village, to their credit, didn’t let this setback affect them too much and they tried their best to keep the ball on the ground and play good football despite the usual muddy and bobbly conditions.
PWC showed why they are fighting for top spot though as they used their strength and tactical nous to thwart any Village attack whilst looking extremely dangerous as they attacked due to a number of smart balls and clever runs from their front line.
It was disappointing therefore that their second goal came from another set piece. A dangerous ball was whipped in from a corner from Village’s right and a PWC player got his head to the ball to divert the ball towards goal. The effort had too much power on it and Clayton, who was stationed on the back post, was unable to keep it out. 2-0
Baker was very busy and he had to be at his best to smother and save a couple of half chances that PWC were creating. He could do nothing about the third goal however as Village were punished again. PWC made their way down Village’s left and delivered a ball to the edge of six yard box at the near post. PWC’s number 9, who got goal side after pushing and outmuscling McPherson, got a great touch on the ball and he saw his shot fly in at the near post despite the defender’s last ditch attempted block. 3-0
The half time whistle soon blew with Connell needing to change something to try and get Village back into the game.
Half time: PWC 3-0 VMFC1
Connell flexed his managerial muscle by bringing on Holmes for McPherson and altering the formation.
The change had the desired effect as Village immediately looked more dangerous. Holmes’ tireless running gave the opposition defence something to think about and Aleixo used his pace and strength to slot in expertly beside Ure and Edwards at the back.
Village were soon dealt another blow however as Connell had to come off after injuring his leg. Jones, who scored his first goal for the club the previous week, was his replacement.
PWC still looked dangerous and, but for wayward shooting and smart goalkeeping, they could have extended their lead. It would have been harsh on Village however as the second half effort and performance was much improved on the first 45 minutes.
Village had a couple of opportunities to reduce the deficit with both Golds and McNaught going very close.
Golds had a fierce, rasping shot – which was heading for the top left hand corner (according to Goldsie anyway!) – turned away by the keeper and McNaught had a smart cushioned header cleared off the line by a PWC defender.
PWC continued to look dangerous but were unable add to their tally. Ure was looking commanding at the back and McNaught was putting in a great shift in the middle and this allowed Village to have one last chance.
With a few minutes to go, Reece took control of the ball and made his way towards goal. As he bore down on goal, with the keeper rushing out, he went to ground looking for a penalty. Unfortunately for Reece, the keeper pulled out of the challenge meaning the midfielder went down without a touch. The referee was happy to let things go, but after Reece got into an altercation with an opponent who took exception to the dive, he was shown the yellow card.
This was the final action of the game and Village were left to rue the fact that a couple of mistakes had cost them dear. The team can take heart from their second half performance however and they now have a two week break to recharge their batteries for one big push for the final league and cup games of the 2013/2014 season.
Full time: PWC 3-0 VMFC1