GFSN summer get together
Saturday 24 May 2014
The GFSN celebrated its 25th anniversary at the tournament
Village Manchester took two teams to compete in the GFSN Summer Tournament in Leeds on the final Bank Holiday weekend in May.
And it was penalty heartbreak for the club as they lost on penalties to North West rivals/friends Mersey Marauders.
The weekend – which celebrated 25 years of the GFSN – kicked off on Friday evening when a few of the club’s members met up with other competing teams for the Football Shirt social. After a night of meeting old and new friends and wetting their whistles, they were joined at the John Charles Centre for Sport on Saturday morning by the remaining players and supporters.
The players were split into two teams with Baker, McNaught, Edwards, Holmes and Rodriguez making up one team and Browning, Bridges, Ranson, Smith and McPherson making up the other. Both teams were wonderfully cheered on by supporters Stather and Joyce from the sidelines.
McNaught’s men (VMFC 1) were drawn in a six team group and they faced Matt's Despicable OAP's (one of the four Yorkshire Terriers’ teams), Leicester Wildecats 3, Wolverhampton Warriors 1, Nottingham Ball Bois 2, and Mersey Marauders 3 in 15 minute games. McPherson was in charge of the second team (VMFC 2) and they faced 20 minute games against Jim’s Yorkshire Rippers (another of the Yorkshire Terriers’ teams), Wolverhampton Warriors 2, Nottingham Ball Bois 3 and Mersey Marauders 1.
With the bare minimum of players available both Village Manchester teams knew that they would be pushed to the limit. The conditions – horrible, consistent and heavy rain teeming down all day – meant that keeping warm during the break in games would be a huge task in itself and it also saw the second tier tournament, the Vase, being called off. This meant that every team would be fighting to get into one of the top two spots in each group so that they could progress further in the competition.
VMFC 1 got off to a slow start as they only managed a 1-1 against Matt's Despicable OAP's thanks to a McNaught goal after missing a number of chances. They were much more clinical in the second game however as they saw off Leicester Wildecats 3 with McNaught and Rodriguez’s braces added to with opening goals for Holmes and Edwards in a 6-1 victory.
They then suffered their only outright defeat in the competition as they went down 1-0 to Wolverhampton Warriors 1. There was some unhappiness as the referee, minus a stopwatch and seemingly even a watch, blew the whistle on 11 minutes. The team soon set the record straight as Baker (unleashed from goal) notched a brace – as did Edwards – to join McNaught on the scoresheet in a 5-1 demolition of Nottingham Ball Bois 2. They finished the group stage by putting three past Mersey Marauders 3 with Rodriguez, Holmes and McNaught (again!) finding the back of the net.
First team: Edwards, Rodrigues, Baker, McNaught, Holmes
Second team: Ranson, McPherson, Bridges, Browning, Smith
In the Quarter Final Rodriguez stole the show as he put in a magnificent performance to score all four against Bexley Invicta in a 4-0 victory. VMFC 1 put in an even better performance in the Semi Final – but they had to wait for it! VMFC 1 looked down and out after Nottingham Ball Bois 1 raced into a 3-1 lead after Baker’s goal. However, a change in goal (Rodriguez replacing Edwards) saw a change in the team’s fortunes and quickfire goals from Baker, Holmes and McNaught turned the game on its head as Village won 4-3.
As in the Premier League, the tournament came down to a fight between a team from Manchester and a team from Liverpool as Mersey Marauders 1 were VMFC 1’s opposition in the Final. A close fought match was unfortunately brought to a halt 11 minutes in as McNaught went down in agony after feeling pain in his (good) knee. Despite not having any subs, Mersey graciously allowed VMFC 1 to bring on a VMFC 2 player so that the game would be 5v5. Following a lengthy delay, when McNaught was helped off the pitch, McPherson was brought on in his place.
With the game seemingly heading towards a stalemate, Rodriguez conjured something out of nothing and drilled the ball into the back of the net with a few minutes remaining. VMFC 1 tried to keep things calm and tight but they were unable to hold out as Mersey Marauders 1 equalised with a minute to go.
Therefore, the tournament came down to penalties and Mersey took a quick lead as they scored their first penalty and Baker missed his spot kick to give the advantage to the opposition. Mersey scored their second but Edwards kept his nerve and kept VMFC 1 in the competition by slotting his effort past the keeper. Baker then pulled off some penalty heroics as he saved Mersey’s third and Rodriguez made no mistake as he scored his penalty to bring the game into sudden death. Mersey found the back of the net with their next penalty and it was Holmes who would be the unlucky player who saw his effort saved to hand the victory to Mersey by 3-2 on penalties.
Read the GFSN's tournament report here
VMFC2 were handed a difficult task if they wished to progress and it was a task that proved to be too much. They kicked off their participation in the tournament with a game against Jim’s Yorkshire Rippers. With it being the first game of the tournament the team had quite a bit of zip and ingenuity about them and they held possession of the ball quite well. They were eager to get the first goal as they peppered the opposition goal with shots but most attempts drifted wide or saw the keeper beat them away. Jim’s Yorkshire Rippers proved to be much more clinical as they slotted three past Bridges in goal to win 3-0.
VMFC 2 looked to put things right in the next game but they got off to an awful start as they were two down to Wolverhampton Warriors 2 within the first couple of minutes. However, they managed to stop the deluge and brought the scoreline level with a brace of driven goals from McPherson. After getting back into the game VMFC 2 held out for a while but the pressure was just too much and the opposition were able to score another two goals to seal a 4-2 victory.
Next up the team faced Nottingham Ball Bois 3. The game will be remembered for Mr John Bridges, who was replaced in goal by Browning, scoring his first goal for the club in over a decade. A fine strike from the right hand side of the pitch found the Nottingham keeper wanting and VMFC 2 took the lead in a game for the first time in the tournament. The team held onto the lead for a few minutes but they couldn’t hold out too long and the Ball Bois got an equaliser. The game ended all square and earned VMFC 2 their first point of the tournament.
VMFC 2’s final game saw them face their sternest test of the tournament as they came up against Mersey Marauders 1. Mersey, with their crisp passing and fierce shots, raced into a two goal lead but McPherson gave VMFC 2 some hope as he found the back of the net from a free kick. Any hope of a comeback was dashed though as Mersey extended their lead thanks to well placed shots and unlucky deflections off defenders. With a final scoreline of 7-1 VMFC 2 were knocked out of the tournament but can take some consolation that the only team to comprehensively beat them were the eventual winners.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, the players did one of the things that they do best – watch football and drink beer! – as they went to The Bridge to watch the Champions League Final. This was followed by The Viaduct and Mission as they partied the evening away with other teams.
The weekend was brought to a close with the GFSN AGM and presentation of the medals on the Sunday afternoon.
Village Manchester would like to thank the GFSN and Yorkshire Terriers for organising the weekend and congratulate Mersey Marauders on their victory.
Happy 25th Anniversary GFSN!
Village Manchester 1 v Mersey Marauders 1 Final penalties:
Opening night celebrations
Steven Holmes and Rob McPherson receive their runners up medals at the GFSN's AGM the following day, from GFSN Chair Chris Basiurski
Nottingham win the group. Newcastle qualify above Mersey on goal difference.
Bexley Invicta and HotScots qualify above Leicester Wildecats on goal difference.
Bexley is top of the group on goals scored.
The results for the 3 matches played by Freddie's Minions, who pulled out, were expunged.