2014/15 Season review: the Second Team
30 April 2015
Article: Rob McPherson
Photos: Steve Joyce
The second team’s league – the Manchester City Central League – concluded in April and, although it was a tough season results-wise for the team, there were quite a few positives to take out of the campaign.
The club may have finished 11th out of 12 but a number of spirited displays against powerful opposition and the fact that so many new players made their competitive debuts for the club meant that the team can hold their heads up high.
The league kicked off at the start of October with a game against Audenshaw Athletic. And it started a trend of Village having strong first halves whilst fading in the second period. Village were 1-0 down at half time against Audenshaw but despite fighting back to equalise twice through Benn and McGivern they ended up losing 5-2. Next followed a narrow 1-0 loss to eventual runners up New East Manchester which was closely followed by one of the team’s best defensive performances of the season – another 1-0 loss to CASIM Lions – courtesy of a deflected cross. October concluded with a 4-2 loss to eventual champions Rainbow – goals from the boots of Bolgar and a penalty for Reece.
November saw the team register their first point of the campaign with a Holmes brace earning a draw against EYN – a result that could have, and maybe should have, been better. The rest of the month was a bit of a write off for the team as they suffered successive defeats. SG Manchester took a 6-2 victory – Fairbrother and Connell getting the consolation strikes – whilst the club with one of the best names in amateur football – Flash Gorton – were victorious by five goals to none. Holmes’ goal against The Nelson meant the club went down 3 goals to one whilst Gorton Community came away with a 6-1 victory despite Golds’ strike.
There were only two games in December but each game served up 12 goals! Ashton West End were ruthless as they defeated Village 9-3 – goals from Cookson, Nelson and Golds but the next game saw Village hit nine as they registered their first victory of the campaign against Cringle Athletic. A Reece strike and a Connell brace saw them join Holmes in the scoresheet as he scored the other six!
The New Year wasn’t to start with another victory as Village went down 2-0 to Audenshaw Athletic and a barren month in front if call was completed with further reversals to New East Manchester (8-0) and CASIM Lions (2-0).
February started with a tough game against Rainbow and it was the opposition who would walk away with the victory with 5-1 despite Cookson’s strike. Village did register their second win of the season the following week as they got the better of EYN with a 3-0 victory – Bolgar, Nelson and Jendov finding the back of the net. Village lost a nine goal thriller the day after Valentine’s Day as they were on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline – a Reece hat-trick and Hayes’ first goal for the club not enough to get any points. The month ended with another loss to Flash Gorton – this time 6-1 – Cookson again getting on the scoresheet.
March began with a 3-0 reverse to The Nelson whilst Gorton Community did the double over Village with a 3-1 victory – goal from Cookson - on 8 March. The club then themselves did the double as they defeated Cringle Athletic 4-2 in an important game between the bottom two teams. Fairbrother, a Bolgar brace and an outrageous (read fortuitous!) finish by Gibson sealing the three points.
The team’s final league game came on the 5 April as they completed their fixture list with a game against Ashton West End. A Bolgar hat-trick gave the team hope but some mistakes were capitalised on by the opposition who ran out 5-3 winners.
So, as you can see, the team did amass a few negative results during the season but a lot of this was to do with the high quality of the league – rather than the quality, desire or effort of the players involved.
There were some poor showings in some games but on the whole the performances that the team put in would easily have got more positive results in many other leagues and it is a good learning curve for a team that had so many new players.
One thing that especially stood out throughout the season was the effort and togetherness the team showed. Players could easily have let their heads drop but they didn’t and they kept being positive.
It was great to see players like James, Kidd, Fish, Gibson and Hayes settle into the team like they have been playing for the club for years – no sign that it was their first season with us.
Reece and Golds returned to the club and what they gave the team – experience, quality and leadership – was invaluable throughout a tough season. Cookson, Feis-Bryce, Orrock, Nelson and Holmes showed great dedication by regularly turning up and putting in excellent shifts and the willingness of Baker, Beavis, Bolgar, Crosby and Fairbrother to turn up and play two games in a day if necessary was so important and appreciated.
The 2014/2015 season may not have been too successful points-wise but, as already said, it was a good lesson for a lot of players and there are a lot of positive things for the team to build on and look forward to with a healthy outlook for the years ahead.