VMFC on tour in Hamburg
13 June 2015
Village Manchester travelled to Hamburg in June to take part in the IGFLA tournament – a competition the club won in Dublin two years ago. Unfortunately the club was not able to retain their trophy but we had a great time trying!
The squad was made up of mainly Village Manchester players but we were joined by a few very welcome new faces. Richard Cowell, who has played for virtually every other GFSN team, decided to give us a go! He loved it so much he's going to join us in Stockholm in August. Carsten Kuschnerus, from Frankfurt, was welcomed into the Village fold having decided to play for a British team (and why would he choose any other?) Our old players Ian Freddie-James, Jordan Langford and Karl Storey were all welcomed back to the club and provided us with great team spirit, more than a few laughs and a couple of goals.
After a bit of tooing and froing the club eventually decided to take part in Division One of the tournament. With many of the club deciding to travel to Stockholm in August rather than Hamburg, we weren't sure our squad would be up to the rigours of Division One. However, as European champions we were delighted to be able to defend our title. In that group it meant that the club would come up against Vorspiel Berlin, Munich Streetboys, London Falcons, Panamboyz United and the team we beat in the 2013 final, Dublin Devils.
The games took place over two days – Friday and Saturday. With just six teams in each of the two 11-a-side divisions, it was a relatively short tournament with five group stage matches and the top two in the group contesting the final. There were ten teams in the 7-a-side division 3 and a women's tournament was also held.
Friday 12 June 2015
VMFC V Dublin Devils
First up were the Dublin Devils. The game got off to a great start for Village Manchester as James Wilson scored a superb header after 12 minutes from a corner to open the scoring. Dublin started pressing more and more as the half went on but Village defended well and held firm for the rest of the first half to go in 1-0 at the break.
Dublin did get an equaliser though despite a great save from Fish, tipping a shot on to the crossbar. The rebound unfortunately fell to a Dublin striker who was left with the easy job of tapping the ball home. Village exerted more pressure, with some crisp passing and energy in the second half, forcing a series of corners and saves from the Dublin goalkeeper. A late Village penalty claim was denied when an attempted cross was handled inside the penalty area.
Final score 1-1
Standing: Clayton, Wilson, James, Bridges, Fish, Browning, Edwards. Kneeling: Storey, Cowell, Langford, Kuschnerus, Orrock, Golds, West
VMFC v Vorspiel Berlin
Next up were Vorspiel Berlin and with the tournament being held on German turf, they promised to be tough opposition. And tough it proved to be as they went in 3-0 up at half time. With five minutes gone they broke away to take the lead and another attack minutes later yielded the second. Village held firm for the next 10 minutes but Berlin soon grabbed their third. After this goal Village began to get some control of the ball and exert some pressure in the run up to half time.
Berlin grabbed their fourth and final goal late in the second half but it was a much improved display in the second half from Village – we were just unable to break down the opposition defence.
Berlin, the tournament's eventual winners, proved to be tough opposition for all the teams they came up against and we would certainly congratulate them on a well deserved win.
Final score 0-4
VMFC v Munich Streetboys
The final game of the day was again against German opposition – this time Munich Streetboys. Village started the game extremely positively and created some early chances but couldn't quite find the net and, against the run of play, Munich scored after 9 minutes. The goal seemed to encourage Munich and Fish made a couple of excellent stops to keep Village in the game. For the remainder of the first half Village pressured Munich but couldn't find their shooting boots and several chances came and went.
Munich scored with their first attack of the second half, making a mockery of the territory Village have enjoyed in the game. Storey had a bit of a Ronnie Rosenthal moment when he missed a great chance from only a few yards out but his blushes were saved by the offside flag. Munich added a third goal before full time but the scoreline did not reflect the game.
Final score 0-3
Saturday 13 June
VMFC v London Falcons
First up on the second day of the football were London Falcons who had former Village player Pete Ransom in their ranks.
After a 1-on-1 was saved by the Falcons goalkeeper, Freddie curled a beautiful goal into the top corner after five minutes. Village continued to pressure and create chances, with Cowell shooting narrowly over after nine minutes and Golds forcing a great save moments later. The team continued to completely control and dominate the game with Freddie almost finishing a fine passing move on 20 minutes. The first half was completely in Village’s favour and it turned out that Village amassed 12 goal scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes!
The second half continued as the first left off with Village dominating possession and chances. A quick counter attack saw Golds skip past the last defender and slot coolly past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0. There was even time for Langford to smash one in from 25 yards before the end - the goalkeeper had a bit of a Massimo Taibi moment but it looked great from the sidelines! To emphasise the dominance Village have enjoyed in the game, chances created stood at 23-1 in VMFC's favour.
Final score 3-0
VMFC v Panamboyz United
The final group game was against Panamboyz United and Village started confidently following a convincing win against the Falcons and forced several early corners. It was a battle of the midfield for most of the first half as both attacks were thwarted by excellent defending on both sides. However, Panamboyz United broke the deadlock on 25 minutes with a header from a corner. The match had been tight thus far and it was difficult to separate the teams.
A clash of heads in the second half forced Richard off temporarily but the magic sponge worked and he was back on within minutes. The pace in the second half slowed as both teams began to feel the effects of five games in 24 hours but Village remained in the match at 1-0 down. Sadly, the club couldn’t force an equaliser which would have been deserved on the balance of play in the game.
Final score 0-1
Village finished the tournament with one win, one draw and three losses and, therefore, didn’t make it through to the final. The final was contested by the impressive Vorspiel Berlin and the Dublin Devils with the Germans emerging victorious with a 3-0 victory. Well done Berlin!
Overall the tour was successful one. Village competed very well in every game and got better as the tournament progressed and one win and three defeats did not reflect how the games were played. While we may have finished fourth out of six in the first division, overall we finished fourth out of 22.
The general opinion was that this was one of the more enjoyable tours of recent years with a nice city, great weather, a well organised tournament and terrific football.
We would like to thank the IGFLA for holding such a good tournament, Steve Clayton for superb team management, Craig Orrock for seamless organisation, and all the players for being part of Hamburg 2015!
Roll on Stockholm...
Above and below: official tournament photos