New East Manchester I v VMFC2
Sunday 27 April 2014
The second team played their one and only game in April at the weekend as they faced Division One opposition in a MCCL League Cup first round first leg tie.
New East Manchester provided the opposition and despite their precarious league position of second bottom, the fact that they were in the league above Village meant that the club knew they would be in for a difficult game.
An influx of new players meant that the line up had a fresh new look about it. Debutant Andrew Johnson took up residency on the right wing with fellow new player Rodriguez taking up a position in the centre of midfield. Curtis made his first second team appearance since returning from Down Under and Mog made a welcome return. Another new boy, Hickmann, was on the bench. Two Americans and two Spaniards helped to make it quite the international team!
With so many new and returning players on the pitch it was somewhat expected that Village would start tentatively. On top of facing a higher class of opposition, the team took a little while to get used to the new style of play and it was therefore unsurprising that it was New East Manchester who opened the scoring as their number 7 found too much space in the Village defence and slotted past Baker.
Village struck back almost immediately however as neat build up play in midfield saw the ball land at the feet of Holmes. The striker laid the ball off to fellow attacker Kirkham, whose fierce low drive flew past the keeper to equalise.
The goal gave Village a foothold in the game and S Johnson, Rodriguez and substitute Hickmann kept New East Manchester on their toes whilst A Johnson's footwork and strength was posing problems down the right. Village were awarded a number of corners and free kicks but the oppostion keeper and defence dealt with these without too much trouble.
With Village roaming forward in search of a second, there was a lot of free space between the defence and midfield which New East Manchester were able to exploit. Findlay, Aleixo, McPherson and Curtis were all called upon to do some last ditch defending whilst Baker was exceptional in goal to keep the scores level.
Village went into half time on equal terms with high hopes for the second half after weathering the storm in the first half.
Half time: New East Manchester I 1-1 VMFC2
In the second half they held out for a little while but the opposition’s superior strength and tactical nous eventually told as they took advantage of an inexperienced and tiring Village to put four more past them.
Village reverted to a more defensive approach to see out the game and to keep them in with a chance in the second leg. Aleixo, who was making his final appearance for the club before moving back to the US of A, epitomised the club’s never-say-die attitude with a brilliant sliding tackle with 10 minutes that Alexi Lalas himself would be proud of!
Despite the 5-1 scoreline, Village can take heart that A Johnson, Rodriguez and Hickmann made promising debuts which bodes well for the future and they can go into the second leg with the pressure off.
Full time: New East Manchester I 5-1 VMFC2