Kinoulton Villa 3 v 3 Noel Street Blues
Date: January 24th 2016
Starting Line Up
KVV Goal Scorers: Gardner, Clarke, Thompson
Man of the Match: Clarke
Noel Street Blues is a team that traditionally Villa has always done well against. Similar to Villa, with an ageing playing staff they have been forced to introduce a handful of youngsters to the team. And so, whilst on the coupon this was a home banker, the absence of two of Villa’s youthful contingent in Paul Skinner (Broken Rib) and Mark Wheeldon (No Commitment) dictated that this game would not be the walk in the park that everyone expected.
With only 11½ confirmed players, Steve Harris having to leave at the half time break, it meant the first full 90 minutes of the season for super-sub Terry Linley, whilst the lack of Skinner in attack meant that manager Jeff Haywood employed a 5-man midfield that included a far from fit Simon Moore and the unpredictable genius of Tom Clarke. Fortunately, the ever reliable Jim Gardner was on hand to keep things under control and it was him who gave Villa the lead after 20 minutes when his deflected shot looped into the top corner.
Up until that point Villa has dominated possession and Jim’s goal was just reward. Villa continued to press and were banging on the door of a second goal. With the wind behind them, Villa were delivering punishing crosses but failing to apply the finishing touch until finally Tom connected with an in-swinging corner to make it 2-0. It remained that way until just before half time despite Villa continuing to drive the game. Some sloppy defending at a corner resulted in a deep cross and a fantastic volleyed finish from the Noel Street striker to make the score 2-1 at half time with Villa rueing the missed opportunities of the half.
The second half proved to be a different story as Noel Street’s squad rotation started to kick in. On a heavy pitch against the wind, it was clear that some of Villa’s players were not quite at their peak fitness levels. With Noel Street able to change 3 or 4 players every 20 minutes introducing fresh impetus to the game, they slowly started to find their game.
It was clear that Villa needed a goal and Tommo duly obliged. Another pinpoint cross from the now half-dead Terry Linley, saw Tommo out jump the Noel St keeper to make it 3-1.
To be fair to Noel Street, they didn’t let their heads drop. Another bout of substitutions saw the introduction of a barrage of youngsters as well as a change in goal. Despite some scrapping amongst themselves they managed to find a second gear and started to really press on the Villa goal. The decisive moment came from a Noel Street corner. A quickly taken cross to the near post saw the smallest man on the pitch steal a march on Simon to flick the ball towards the near post. Fortunately, outgoing Man of the Match Colin Elliott was positioned firmly against the post ready to clear anything that was thrown at him. Unfortunately, he happened to be practicing his demi-plie at the time, as Mrs Elliott has recently enrolled him in ballet lessons in an attempt to improve his fitness, and the ball somehow managed to find its way between his bow legs and the inside of the post to make it 3-2.
With renewed confidence, Noel Street attacked and attacked in the last ten minutes. Villa, meanwhile, were uncharacteristically failing to communicate effectively and after a couple of near misses, a defensive mix up left the Noel Street striker with an easy chance to equalise and he duly obliged. It definitely wasn’t Jeff’s fault though. He only shouted “kee….” which doesn’t count.
Final score, Villa 3 Noel Street 3 although to most it felt like a defeat.