Kinoulton Villa Vets 4 v 3 Noel Street Blues
Date: September 4th 2016
Starting Line Up
KVV Goal Scorers: Thompson (2), Gardner, Elliott
Man of the Match: Gardner
With 5 enforced changes from his starting line up for the first game of the season, this wasn't the easiest game to prepare for for head coach Jeff Haywood. A flurry of activity in the final week of the transfer window saw 4 new additions to the squad, all of whom were named on the bench for this tough encounter against an ever youthful Noel Street Blues.
Missing from the squad were Villa stalwarts, Wol and Tony and with a lack of cover elsewhere in defence it was left to Villa's very own utility man Tom Clarke to lead the back line and take up a new position of centre half. It was a selection that proved inspirational as Clarke controlled the defence like a man beyond his years. Everything that came his way was quickly dealt with and his command of the defensive line prived immaculate. Had it not been for the performance of stand-in skipper Jim Gardner, Clarke would have surely claimed another man of the match performance and the club would have been another £5 richer by this time next week. Having said that, it is a fairly assured bet that Jim will end up delivering this revenue shortfall come 10.02am on Sunday 10th September.
The game itself proved to be a bit of a mis-match and a little stop start. Both sides arrived with large squads and the ever changing line-ups often resulted in a lack of flow to the game. Nevertheless it was Villa that dominated the game and despite the scores remaining level for the first 30 minutes, Tommo eventually opened the scoring with a neat finish and then added a second only minutes later to make the score 2-0 at half time.
With many of the new signings intoduced for the second half, Villa struggled to find a rhythm and allowed NSB a way back into the game early on. But as the new players found the pace of the game and settled into their positions, Villa once again began to dominate. Cliff was holding the ball up well up front, whilst Ollie was proving solid at the back and Ian was creating options on the right.
As usual the NSB youth were clasing with the NSB seniors and for all of their pace and talent, they couldn't break down the solidarity of the Kinoulton team. Ever keen to press, when Simon robbed their full back of possession on the hour mark, his simple low cross resulted in Cliff laying off deftly to the oncoming Jim who slotted the ball beautifully into the top corner from the edge of the area to make it 3-1.
NSB continued to fight amongst themselves and Villa continued to press for a fourth. A corner from the right resulted in a half hearted clearance at the back post. As the ball bounced clear of the area it looked to all and sundry that Simon would collect and deliver back into the area. But it was not to be. For behind him, he heard a shout, and quickly Simon changed direction and left the ball to travel purposely away from the NSB goal only to be met with might and thunder of the Geordie missile launcher that is more commonly known as Colin Elliott's right boot! From that point, it was only a matter of nano seconds before the ball was nestling securely in top corner of the Neol Street goal and the crowd were sent into a frenzy. This was perhaps the greatest Villa goal ever and certainly secured Colin as Villa's oldest ever goalscorer!
Rumours of a celebration were greatly exaggerated with Colin explaining that his little aeroplane turn was purely for balance to counteract the momentum of the power of such a strike.
The euphoria of such a wonder strike saw Villa let their guard down and a goal line scramble saw NSB pull a goal back when the defence failed to clear a corner. During the confusion, one of the NSB players also managed to set Villa keeper Andy Hunt's feet in cement and when given a 40 yard head start he still failed to beat the oncoming striker to the ball and the score was a nerve wracking 4-3.
An injury to Tom with 10 minutes to go made for an anxious end to the game but Villa eventually held out despite the referee looking to give everything to force the draw including a foul AGAINST Simon that knocked him into next week and probably out of action for a good few weeks.
All in all, a solid performance and a good victory given the youthful opposition, a number of absentees and several debutants. Final score - Villa 4, NSB 3.