VMFC v East End Phoenix
Saturday 6 December 2014
Village Manchester stormed into the GFSN semi-finals as they saw off East End Phoenix 4-0 in the quarter final at the Lee Westwood Sports Centre in Nottingham.
Village had a full squad of 18 for the game and the club were joined by a number of WAGs, supporters and current and former players on the sidelines.
McPherson set his side up in a 4-4-2 formation with Toland’s goal being guarded by a defence of Kidd, Edwards, Orrock and West. Connell and McNaught started in the centre of midfield with Fairbrother on their left and Johnson on their right. Nelson joined captain Holmes up front. The bench was made up of Fish, Browning, McPherson, Wilson, Mullender, Khan and Langford.
Following a delayed kick off to the game due to the referee being stuck in traffic, Village settled well, passed the ball about and immediately started to look dangerous. Indeed, the first chance of the game fell to Holmes but the captain’s shot cleared both the keeper and the bar.
It didn’t take long for the striker to get another chance though – and this time he didn’t miss. Edwards cleared a ball down Village’s right and Johnson showed great pace and strength to outmuscle the Phoenix left back. The winger delivered a pinpoint cross to the near post and Holmes rushed in and applied a clever finish to steer the ball in. 1-0
Five minutes later Village doubled their lead – and again it was man of the match Johnson that was causing havoc. Another one of his crosses from the right found McNaught just inside the box and the midfielder took one touch to control the ball and with his second he expertly curled in a shot past the helpless opposition keeper. 2-0
Nelson almost got a third for Village but he shot just wide from Fairbrother’s pass. Village were given a warning 20 minutes in that they wouldn’t have everything their own way as Phoenix went agonisingly close to reducing the deficit. A good through ball saw their striker run onto the ball and towards goal where he dinked the ball over the onrushing Toland. Luckily for Village the ball hit the outside of the post and away from trouble.
Nelson had another chance to extend Village's lead but, after Holmes’ initial shot was blocked, he could only find the keeper’s hands.
With lots of substitutes to use, McPherson started making some changes as Wilson, Mullender, Khan and Langford came on. It was the latter of these who had the next couple of opportunities for Village but he was unable to find his range just yet as he shot over twice.
The whistle soon came with Village taking a two goal lead into the half time break.
Half time: Village Manchester 2-0 East End Phoenix
McPherson declared himself pleased with the effort and desire that was put in by his players but stressed that the next goal would be crucial to how to game would develop – if Phoenix got it they might gain confidence and cause more trouble for Village, but if the Mancunian’s got it then it could finally knock the stuffing out of the opposition.
And we only had to wait five minutes into the second half to see who would get what could be a potentially decisive third goal of the game. After Langford’s effort from far out on the right was pushed wide for a corner, the set piece was delivered to the back post and Khan jumped well to power the ball home with his head for his first goal for the club. 3-0
Holmes almost got his second of the game a couple of minutes later but his fierce shot hit the bar.
Manager McPherson rang a few more changes as Fish and Browning got in on the action in the full back positions.
Village continued to have chances with Langford diverting a shot wide and Fairbrother heading over after getting onto the end of a cross. Minutes later, Fairbrother missed a great chance to grab Village’s fourth but he didn’t connect well to Langford’s skewed shot and the ball didn’t trouble the stranded keeper or the defender on the line.
The fourth soon came though and Langford finally got his goal as he dispatched the ball past the Phoenix keeper. 4-0
To their credit, Phoenix kept plugging away and with 15 minutes remaining they curled an effort just wide to keep Toland, who had one of his quietest games since his comeback, on his toes. McPherson came on for the last 10 minutes as Village saw the game out to book their place in the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
In the semi-final they will travel to Scotland in February 2015 to take on Saltire Thistle. The teams regularly played each other in the annual Caledonian Cup and it is sure to be a competitive and close tie as both teams will be eager to make it to the final where they will face either Hotscots or London Falcons who square up in the other tie.
In the meantime, Village can be proud of a strong and inventive performance which blew away their opposition in Nottingham and will hope that they can keep this level up in the run up to, and after, Christmas.
The club would like to thank the GFSN and the Nottingham Ball Bois for hosting the weekend – a weekend thoroughly enjoyed by Village Manchester's players, supporters and WAGs.
Full time: Village Manchester 4-0 East End Phoenix
Manchester Maccabi 1 v VMFC1
11am, Sunday 14 December
Manchester Accountants League
Ashton West End v VMFC2
6.15pm, Sunday 14 December
Wright Robinson College
Manchester City Central League
In addition to the GFSN Cup quarter final, VMFC also launched a new logo and unveiled a new kit!
Standing: McPherson, Edwards, Holmes, Browning, Toland, Wilson, Connell, Mullender, Fish, Bridges
Kneeling: Nelson, Johnson, Fairbrother, West, Orrock, Khan, Kidd, Langford, McNaught
VMFC and East End Phoenix united in tribute to the Christmas Day 1914 truce and football match #FootballRemembers