VMFC1 v South Manchester
Sunday 7 September 2014
Village Manchester kicked off the 2014/2015 season with a great 4-3 victory over South Manchester at the Manchester University Playing Fields in Wythenshawe.
The club has had quite an intensive pre-season and there were high hopes that the work put in over the past couple of months would bode well for the season head.
With a number of absentees due to injury, illness and holidays, manager Sam Connell named a starting line up with a number of new faces.
With regular goalkeeper Baker away in the US of A for a few weeks and all usual replacements unable to play, Rodriquez selflessly and courageously volunteered to put himself in goal. The job of protecting the Spaniard’s goal was given to Curtis, Ure and McPherson. Fairbrother and Johnson provided the width with Mullender, Wilson and captain Carter providing the grit, determination and creativity in the middle. Mooney and Bolgar formed a two-pronged attacking line.
The game got off to a decent start with both teams getting a feel for the ball and getting used to the wet pitch. South Manchester were the ones who settled quicker and, after a spell of pressure, they opened the scoring from a set piece. A corner from Village’s right was whipped onto the edge of the six yard box and a slackly marked South Manchester player ran on to the ball and powered a header home. 0-1
South Manchester doubled their lead as they took advantage of an extremely debateable offside call to place an unstoppable shot past Rodriquez. 0-2
The scoreline was a bit harsh on Village and for the last 15 minutes of the half they put on a great display of creativity and energy – and this yielded a goal. Mooney’s height was causing a lot of hassle for the South Manchester defence and it was from a free kick where his presence saw the ball find Wilson at the back post. The midfielder made no mistake as he poked the ball home. 1-2
Half time: Village Manchester 1-2 South Manchester
Following a good end to the half, Connell had positives to commend at the half time break. He also called for more communication and said that the game was there for the taking.
It was mentioned that the next goal would be crucial and, with just under 10 minutes gone in the second half, South Manchester got it. An attacker collected the ball from a throw in and, from an acute angle, he expertly curled the ball over Rodriquez and in off the back post. 1-3
This could have knocked the stuffing out of Village – and in previous seasons it would have – but this year Village kept their head and went about their work in the correct way to get themselves back into the game.
With an hour gone Village got a second goal and it was to be the start of a spirited and committed fight back. Johnson, whose set pieces were spot on all day, delivered a pinpoint cross onto Mooney’s head. With the Irishman’s movement creating some space for himself, he brilliantly powered an unstoppable header out of the keeper’s reach. The game was on! 2-3
Village got back on level terms five minutes later as Wilson got his second of the game. Another ball was played into the box and following the ball bobbling around a lot and a suspicion of offside, Bolgar’s attempt towards goal was turned in by Wilson. 3-3
And the comeback was complete five minutes later as Fairbrother, who ran his socks off all day, got his first goal for the club. The ball again made its way into the box from the right and the Village attackers had great presence of mind to square the ball across to the onrushing debutant who smashed the ball high into the back of the net. 4-3
With the game turning around so much and with time running out, as you would expect South Manchester began to throw things forward and put more pressure on. Rodriquez, who received a yellow card for persistent arguing, was called into action a number of times as he saved shots from the edge of the box comfortably and he also made a great one-handed save to claw an almost certain goal off the line.
The opposition came closest to levelling the game from another set piece as they narrowly nodded over from a fiercely whipped in corner.
However, Village’s work in pre-season started to show as they matched the opposition with their energy and desire and despite nearly losing Mullender and man of the match Curtis – whose dominance in both the air and on the ground was excellent – following a worrying coming together they saw out the game to take the three points.
With the influx of quite a few new players there is a positive and hopeful feel to the club and this performance and result against a team who finished third last season means the club have got the season off to a perfect start. There were numerous great shifts put in throughout the pitch and with a number of injured regular players and supporters cheering us on from the sidelines, the club is looking forward to getting back into action against Saints next Sunday.
Full time: Village Manchester 4-3 South Manchester
Saints v VMFC1
Sunday 14 September