VMFC2 v New East Manchester I
Sunday 11 May 2014
Village Manchester’s second team faced New East Manchester in the second leg of the MCCL League Cup first round.
Village lost 5-1 in the first leg but a much improved performance saw the club draw 1-1 against an opposition that ply their trade in the league above.
Despite being knocked out of the competition, the game will be remembered for goalkeeper Baker’s headed equaliser… yes, you read that right!
There were a number of changes from the first leg, with Carter, McNaught, Connell, Mullender, Clayton and Papademetriou replacing Curtis, Alexio, Mog, S Johnson, Holmes and A Johnson in the starting line-up.
Village competed admirably in the first leg with scores level at half time but a bulldozing second half performance from New East Manchester saw them take a four goal advantage into the second leg.
With Village aware of the problems that the opposition could pose, they started the game quite cagily as they didn’t want to make any mistakes that would let New East Manchester extend their lead.
They were dealt a blow early in the game however as Connell had to come off with an injury.
Despite this, Village were keeping the opposition at bay with Carter marshalling the troops well at the back and McNaught and Clayton putting in determined shifts to try and subdue a midfield that tore into the team in the first leg.
The trickery and running of the front four of Papademetriou, Kirkham, Rodriquez and Holmes saw Village being awarded a number of free kicks. The efforts were regularly on target – but the New East Manchester keeper was able to hold onto the shots without spilling them out to the onrushing Village attackers.
New East Manchester took the lead half way through the half – and despite all their skill and strength – their goal was very routine one. The defence launched a ball over the top and an opposition attacker just beat Carter to ball and calmly hit a shot over the onrushing Baker. 0-1
Village didn’t let their heads drop however and held their own until the break.
VMFC2 0-1 New East Manchester I
Standing: Connell, Feis Bryce, McNaught, Holmes, Mullender, Baker, Hall, Carter, Findlay, Kirkham, Clayton, Hickman, McPherson. Kneeling: Rodriguez, Papademetriou
Half time saw Village lose two more players to injury with Holmes and Findlay coming off.
The second started off brightly for Village as they got the ball down on the ground more and started to garner a bit more possession. Their insistence on playing the ball short and on the floor sometimes meant that they lost the ball in dangerous areas but they were not made to pay as New East Manchester’s shooting proved to be slightly erratic.
A injury to Hickman – who himself had come on for the injured Findlay – saw Hall come on to make final his appearance at Wright Robinson with half an hour to go.
Hall proved to be a useful outlet and by moving Feis-Bryce to left back Village pushed to get an equaliser that their play deserved. Papademetriou, Kirkham and Rodriquez were causing trouble up top with their running and strength but never really troubled the keeper as shots were scuffed or blocked.
The opposition had quite a few chances of their own and could have extended their lead if it wasn’t for some great goalkeeping and defending. The midfield three of McNaught, Mullender and Clayton put pressure on the attackers and if they got past them then Carter, McPherson, Feis-Bryce and Hall were able to get a leg or boot to the ball to block or divert the ball away from goal. This work meant that New East Manchester were restricted to shots from outside the box - and with Baker’s agility and strong hands Village were safe in the knowledge that it would take something special to beat the American in goal.
The game started to swing in the favour of Village as New East Manchester were reduced to 10 men when one of their players inexplicably launched themselves at Kirkham. The referee had no option but to send the player off and duly did so.
With 10 minutes left Village squandered a great chance to bring the tie level as Mullender blasted a shot over the bar from less than 10 yards out following a corner.
However, Village were not to be denied the goal that their play merited – and it came from a very unlikely source! After being encouraged by Kirkham and given the green light by manager Hall, Baker made his way into the opposition box for a corner from Village’s left. The set piece was perfectly delivered to the back post and, after judging where the ball was going to end up, Baker leapt high and powered an unstoppable header into the back of the net! 1-1
The final whistle soon followed and whilst it meant that Village were knocked out, the team could be happy with their display in the game. Despite starting the game quite sluggishly, the team picked themselves up and an encouraging attitude and strong work rate started to shine through. It is undoubted that the opposition were the stronger of the teams during the whole tie and this was not unexpected as they play in the league above. However, Village showed that they can hold their own against higher opposition and if they can be a bit more clinical and cut out the mistakes then they will be a team not to be messed with.
VMFC2 1-1 New East Manchester I
New East Manchester I win 6-2 on aggregate