VMFC2 v Audenshaw Athletic
Sunday 5 October 2014
Village Manchester's second team kicked off their Manchester City Central League campaign with a 5-2 defeat to Audenshaw Athletic.
Following a couple of strong and victorious showings in the GFSN Cup, the team got underway in the league with player/manager McPherson picking a raft of new players in his squad.
With an impressive intake of new players, the Northern Irishman was eager to give the new recruits their first taste of action and this saw five players making their competitive debut for the club.
Returning goalkeeper Crosby was between the sticks with the two Mikes (Wain and McGivern) directly in front of him. Kidd assumed his normal position at left back with Fish making his first outfield club appearance on the right. Using the 4-1-3-1-1 that was successful against Newcastle, McPherson was positioned just in front of the defence with Holmes joining new boys Jones and Cole in midfield. The hat-trick hero against Newcastle, Papademetriou, was charged with assisting Nelson up front. Baker, Johnson and the last of the debutants, Benn, started on the bench.
Village started the game looking to keep it tight so that the players could get a feel for the ball and the formation, and to cast out any nerves that may have built up. They did manage to string a few good passes together but more often than not the ball ended up being given away by balls launched up the pitch. When the ball did reach the front men's feet Village did start to look dangerous with Panos' skill causing a few problems.
But it was to be Audenshaw who would grab the first goal. Village were too slow to close a shot down from the edge of the box - but it looked like Crosby had it covered. However, the Preston fan could not gather the ball cleanly and an Audenshaw attacker took advantage of this by slotting in the loose ball. 0-1
Audenshaw was getting more and more possession and they were finding a lot of space in the middle of the pitch. It was thanks to some great defending, especially by McGivern, that ensured the score stayed as it was.
Village decided that Audenshaw couldn't be afforded so much space and this prompted a change of formation and personnel. The 4-1-3-1-1 was ditched in favour of a 4-4-2 with Baker coming on to add more strength in the centre of the pitch. Johnson was brought on to go on the right wing with Fish and Jones making way.
The changes had the desired effect with Village looking a lot more assured and confident and Baker's long throws were causing havoc in the opposition defence. Benn soon came on and added something different up front.
This pressure yielded a number of corners which were just about cleared and Holmes should have equalled the score line but he skewed his shot wide when yards out.
The half time whistle soon went and Village could take a lot of heart from an improved second half of the first half.
Half time: Village Manchester 0-1 Audenshaw Athletic
Village started the second half as they ended the first and they began to exert even more pressure on the opposition. The midfielders and attackers were putting the Audenshaw defence under the cosh and it was from very slack play that Village got their equaliser.
The Audenshaw defence were playing the ball about inside their own box but Benn took advantage of some lax passing to nip in and poke the ball home to punish them. 1-1
This goal gave Village hope and they aimed to build on this but they were soon to be one goal behind again as Audenshaw made their way past a number of tackles before finishing beyond Crosby. 1-2
Village didn't let this dishearten them and they themselves went up to the other end of the pitch and brought the scores level again. A corner was not cleared and with the ball bobbling around the box, McGivern showed a poacher's instinct by reacting first and steering the ball past the keeper. 2-2
This was as good as things were going to get for Village though as tiredness started to set in - with Audenshaw taking deadly advantage.
The defence were beginning to be put under more and more pressure and McPherson gave away a careless penalty when he dived in to up-end an Audenshaw forward towards the right of the area. The penalty taker made no mistake as he smashed the spot kick down the middle of the goal as Crosby went to his left. 2-3
Audenshaw grabbed their fourth soon after a shot from the edge of box had just too much power on it with Crosby only able to help it on its way. 2-4
Crosby did well to smother and close down a couple of attempts but the opposition got their fifth of the game as an attacker meandered through a tired and disconsolate Village and finished beyond the keeper. 2-5
The full time whistle was welcomed by Village who had just run out of steam as the game went on. For periods at the end of the first half and the start of the second, Village looked like the team that put in impressive displays in Trowbridge and Newcastle - but in a demanding league they were punished in this game for a couple of mistakes and some slow play.
McPherson encouraged the lads to not be down about the result and that he saw more than enough to give him encouragement moving on into the season. With so many new players making their debuts - and some playing 11-a-side football for the first time in many years! - results and performances will only get better as players gel and get used to the power and pace of Sunday league football.
Full time: Village Manchester 2-5 Audenshaw Athletic
VMFC1 v AFC Flixton
11.00, Sunday 12 October
University playing fields, Wythenshawe
New East Manchester v VMFC2
16.15, Sunday 12 October
Wright Robinson College, Gorton