VMFC on tour in Stockholm
8 August 2015
VMFC are Eurogames silver medalists!
Village Manchester headed to the Swedish capital of Stockholm at the start of August (3-10) to take part in the EuroGames – a tournament which they won the second division of in Budapest a couple of years ago.
The actual football started on the Thursday but the majority of the club travelled to Scandanvia on the Monday to take in a couple of days of seeing the sights and being tourists. And of course we sampled our share of Swedish beers and had a look at what the Swedish clubs were like!
With everyone registered and a training session completed the club took part in the Opening Ceremony on the Wednesday. After being paraded into a beautiful town square the players and supporters were able to mingle with our friends from London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Iceland and Seattle in front of an impressive stage.
For Village, the action on the pitch got underway early in the afternoon on Thursday as they took on East End Phoenix and Birmingham Blaze in the opening group stage. The club took a large and strong squad with them with regular players supplemented with a few ex-players (Storey, Ransom, A Wilson, Langford) and friends from across the country (Sinclair, Cowell).
Thursday: VMFC v East End Phoenix (initial stage group game)
First up was East End Phoenix – a club Village had met in the GFSN Cup earlier in the season. In that tie Village ran out 4-0 winners and they went one better this time as they earned a 5-0 victory. Bolgar got the scoring underway as he ran through on goal following a splendid pass and sent the keeper the wrong way. Storey doubled the lead as he headed in at the back post from a Golds corner before Ransom turned provider as his corner was not cleared and Alex Wilson lashed the ball home. Fairbrother got his name on the scoresheet as Bolgar laid the ball off to him and Langford completed the scoring with a fine lob near the end of the game.
Standing: Clayton, McNaught, McPherson, Bolgar, Langford, Crosby, J Wilson, Cowell, Bridges, Lockley
Kneeling: Fairbrother, Findlay, Golds, Kidd, Sinclair, Storey, West, Orrock, Ransom
Thursday: VMFC v Birmingham Blaze (initial stage group game)
Next up were Birmingham Blaze – a team with ex-manager Matt Hall in their ranks. And Village again got a good start thanks to Bolgar as he cleverly flicked the ball home with a back heel. Fairbrother got his second goal of the tournament as he curled a splendid shot in from 30 yards out. Golds completed the scoring as he finished off a fine move when he dispatched a pull back.
With two wins, eight goals and none conceded, Village finished top of their group. As a result they would face Stonewall Lions and Seattle Stonewall in the next group stage on Friday.
Friday: VMFC v Stonewall (Division One group stage game)
First up were Stonewall and the game started off at a frantic pace with both teams eager to get in front first. It would be the team from London who would draw first blood as their number 12 flicked on a ball into the box which curled past Crosby into the back of the net. Stonewall got their second as they drove home a powerful shot from 25 yards out.
Friday: VMFC v Seattle Stonewall (Division One group stage game)
Village were keen to make amends for conceding their first goals of the tournament and they did so by seeing off Seattle Stonewall with a 1-0 victory after Cowell finished off a Fairbrother corner. In this game we came up against Auckland and Freddie who have both played for the club in various tournaments over the years.
Saturday: Stockholm Snipers 1 v VMFC (semi final)
Village came up against Stockholm Snipers in the semi-final and the club started off at a startling pace against the hosts. It was Slovakian Bolgar who again got the first goal of the game as he got on the end of a great ball down the right and shot across goal to find the back of the net. Cowell got his first of the tournament as he spectacularly overhead kicked a loose ball into the box that popped up invitingly from Langford’s free kick. And Ransom added to the list of scorers as he skilfully placed a header past the Swedish keeper from McNaught’s free kick.
So Village went in at half time 3-0 up and seemingly cruising – but they knew the next goal would be important. It was the hosts that would get it and start putting pressure on Village. Their striker ran in behind the Village defence and smartly dinked a shot over Storey’s tackle and Crosby’s onrushing attempt at blocking the shot. They doubled their tally and reduced Village’s lead to one goal as a ball down the right over the defence was missed by James Wilson and the attacker shot across Crosby and found the back of the net. Stockholm had the momentum and Village needed to put up a stubborn effort to keep them at bay. With time running out Stockholm started to get desperate and shoot from farther and farther out. This suited Village just fine and they were able to weather the storm and see the game out to book their place in the final where they would again face old rivals the Stonewall Lions.
Saturday: VMFC v Stonewall Lions (final)
The game took place on the main pitch on Saturday afternoon and it drew a decent crowd as spectators watched the two English teams go toe to toe. As in the previous game, the pace was frantic and some strong challenges went flying in early on. Stonewall were again the team to open the scoring and draw first blood. Orrock got a yellow card for committing a professional foul in the centre circle and from the resulting free kick Stonewall player Kehoe – who himself played for Village in the Unity Cup in Cardiff a couple of years ago – nodded home. They doubled their lead soon after as they drove down the middle of the pitch and shot past Crosby. Village could have wilted but it is credit to them that they fought back and reduced the arrears fairly quickly. Langford produced a great through ball which Bolgar ran onto and finished past the opposition keeper. Both teams put together some good moves as they looked to get the next goal that could swing the game but this resulted in one team cancelling the other one out.
The job looked to get a bit harder for Village as Orrock was given his marching orders for another deliberate, but necessary, foul. Again Village showed their steal and determination as they didn’t let this sending off affect them and they looked the more likely of the two teams to get the next goal. Unfortunately there was to be no last minute drama as they were unable to breach the Stonewall defence for a second time.
The club would like to congratulate Stonewall on their victory and we want to express our thanks to the organisers of the football tournament as it was expertly organised and went like clockwork.
The club had a great time in the Swedish capital – Stockholm is a beautiful city with beautiful buildings and beautiful scenery and the weather was great the whole time we were there!
Final thanks go to Clayton for taking charge of the team, Joyce for all his efforts at the competition and an extra special mention for Toland who did a great job at organising Village’s attendance in Scandinavia.
Thursday 6 - Saturday 8 August 2015
12 teams in the 11 a side split into four groups. Top team in each group went into Division One; bottom team into Division Two. Middle team in each group plays further games to determine which teams would go into which Division.
Thursday 6 August - initial group stage
Friday 7 August - Division group stage
Saturday 8 August - 5th place, 3rd place, semis and finals