AFC Gorton v VMFC1
Wednesday 30 July 2014
Village Manchester kicked off their pre-season campaign with a hastily arranged match against AFC Gorton on Wednesday 30 July.
The club were contacted by the opposition on the Monday afternoon and first team manager Sam Connell quickly got 15 players together for the match that took place in the unfamiliar surroundings of Cedar Mount Academy in the Gorton Education Village.
Connell set up the team with a 3-5-1-1 formation with Findlay, Hardern and McPherson tasked with keeping debutant Fish’s goal protected. Ahead of them Clayton, Shapiro, Carter, Mog, Rodriguez and Holmes had the job of shielding the defence and providing the ammunition for Mooney up top. The bench had a new feel to it with Johnson, Fairbrother and Cole joining old hand Curtis on the sidelines.
Despite the short notice, Village started well and heeded Connell’s words to play the ball on the ground. This resulted in them having sustained periods on the ball and inching towards the opposition goal.
It was AFC Gorton who would take the lead however as they took advantage of a misjudged ball that bounced over the top. Fish did excellently to block the onrushing striker’s shot but the ball fell kindly to another opposition attacker and he cleverly lobbed the ball over a retreating Fish and McPherson’s tackle. 1-0
This goal was against the run of play but Village soon restored parity as they smartly worked the ball down the left with some great interplay. After making their way to the touchline a ball was drilled across goal and Rodriguez smashed it in for the equaliser. 1-1
Both teams were searching for the next goal that would take them ahead in the game and both had chances.
AFC Gorton got the goal though to take the lead and it was a lead that they would not relinquish. Findlay and McPherson, who were tasked with marking the opposition’s quick and nippy strikers, were being pulled put of position and this created space for others. A Gorton player managed to find some of this space on the edge of the D and his shot was just too much for Fish, who could only parry the ball in. 2-1
Connell started ringing the changes with Johnson, Fairbrother, Cole and Curtis all getting on.
Gorton would take a two goal lead into half time as they managed to poke the ball home in a crowded box from a cross from the right. 3-1
Half time: AFC Gorton 3-1 Village Manchester
Connell made some changes at half time – both to the formation and to the personnel. The formation changed to a regular 4-4-2 and this change proved effective as it nullified AFC Gorton’s main threats.
Holmes and Mooney were looking dangerous up front and they had half chances that were either saved by the keeper or that went wide. Holmes, who was being his usual nuisance for the opposition defence, was the victim of a couple of ugly challenges from the opposition who were running out of ways to deal with him.
Village almost halved the deficit on the hour mark as a clever Johnson shot from far out ricocheted off the bar and post before it was palmed away off the line by the keeper.
With Village pushing for a goal they changed to a back three with Hardern pushed up front.
Gorton put some gloss on the result with a fourth goal five minutes from time. Gorton’s movement from a free kick was not followed and an attacker drilled in a shot which was just out of the despairing Fish’s reach. 4-1
Despite the game ending in defeat, there were a lot of positives to take. The first 20 minutes saw some great play and understanding at such an early time in the season and Connell’s fitness regime is already showing to be effective as the team did not suffer their usual second half slump.
Special mention needs to go to Fish who manfully offered his services in goal despite normally being an outfield player and it was great to see Fairbrother and Cole make their debuts in a VMFC shirt.
The club have a busy pre-season planned and dates, times and venues of events can be found on the Fixtures page of our website.
Full time: AFC Gorton 4-1 Village Manchester