Vics' played out a 0-0 stalemate with visiting Stamford AFC this afternoon, in a game of few chances at either end. The point earned by the Green and Whites' puts an end to a run of three League defeats on the trot.
Sunday 5th February 2017. COMPETITION - EvoStik NPL Division One South. VENUE - The Net Dec Stadium, Northwich
LINE-UP'S - Vics' - Forth, Clarke (caution), Fitzgerald, Lyndon (C), Mannion (caution), Bennett (caution), Doran (caution), Matthews (Short 67'), McDonald, Kiwanda (*D*) (Shaw 74') (*D*), Gyimah. Un-used subs' - Berrisford, Lawrence. *D* - denotes Debut. Unavailable for Vics' - Godwin Abadaki - Striker (shoulder) - expected back in two weeks. John Pritchard - defender/forward - (Calf) expected back on 11th February for the Leek Town HOME fixture.
Stamford AFC - Donkin, Hartley, Luto (caution), Draper (McGeorge 65') (caution), Challinor, Marshall (caution), Smith (C) (Gary King 74'), Duffy, Ryan, Nodder (caution), John KIng (Meade 60'). Un-used subs' - Hussey, Hill.
Vics' M.O.M - Matty Clarke. Really becoming Mr dependable in the Vics' side. Played at right-back because of injuries and was exceptional. Positional sense and awareness outstanding. Made two unbelievable goal-saving tackles to deny the visitors a maxium three-point bounty.
The game opened with not much enterprise from both sides in the attacking third - although the Vics' looked the more dangerous during the opening quarter, with debutant front-man Damase Kiwanda's electric pace causing some problems for the Daniels' rear-guard. The first chance of note came the visitors' way on 22' when Vics' keeper' Dylan Forth denied striker Josh Nodder with his legs, a low shot on an angle from ten yards after a quick break out. Four minutes later on 26', Forth's legs came to the rescue again when he thwarted wide-man John King - who shot left-footed from twelve yards out after a fine cross from the right by Jake Duffy. Vics' best chance of the half arrived on 37' when centre-back Andy Fitzgerald's header from seven yards was blocked by Daniels' defender Jon Challinor after an inch-perfect cross by full-back George Mannion.
HALF-TIME - Vics' 0-0 Stamford AFC.
The visiting Daniels' had the first chance upon the resumption on 51', Vics' keeper' Dylan Forth made a fantastic flying finger-tip save to prevent Jon Challinors' bullet header from going into the roof of the net after a sublime cross sent over by Jake Duffy. Vics' make-shift right full-back for the day and game-star Matty Clarke made the first of two sensational last-ditch tackles when he denied striker Grant Ryan who was clean through after latching onto a long ball from Jon Challinor and shaping to shoot just seven yards out on 63' and then the second goal-saving tackle on 80'; amazingly getting back to sub' Regan McGeorge after all looked lost, he raced back and not only made a perfectly timed-tackle; he also came away with the ball to start a Green and White attack. Vics' front-man Yaw Gyimah nearly broke the deadlock on 86' with a fine chest down of the ball - then a turn just outside the area; and sent a right-foot screamer just wide, the architect being George Mannion; his left-side run and cross had picked out Gyimah beautifully. The 4 added on minutes saw no chances arise and in a game of few goal-scoring chances; the teams shared the points.
Vics' Manager Paul Moores' verdict on the goal-less stalemate -
A game low on quality over-all, Paul. But it's a point gained and gives the lads a boost moving forward to take something from it, with the last three games being reverses.
After waiting so long we finally got the home game we wanted on. With a squad only short of two players (John Pritchard & Godwin Abadaki) it was going to be a tough encounter with Stamford, who count Witton Albion, table-toppers Shaw Lane AFC and Newcastle Town as teams they have beaten already this season.
We adopted a 4-5-1 shape, with our new signing Damase Kiwanda out wide and Yaw Gyimah on the other wing. I felt that we could get in behind but also adopt a strong battling quality with three in the middle and a solid back four, that included Matty Clarke at right back.
We started positively in a very lively encounter in the first 20 minutes - neither team opening up the other; but a full on battle. Our shape was looking good value with Damase's pace being a constant threat in the first half, and we forced a number of corners but also allowed Stamford two great opportunities to score, with Dylan Forth being at his best to save the day. I felt we just lacked that little bit of quality in our play in the final third, but overall was very happy with how we battled for each other, and went in 0-0 half-time.
The second half was much the same, and although Stamford had a couple of glaring opportunities but for the excellent intervention from a superb Matty Clarke all afternoon, we could have conceded. Praise also must go for Dylan in goal who turned a goal-bound header over the bar from short range - and at the other end, with Yaw Gyimah more central we could have had a better view of goal and punished Stamford.
I felt we lacked penetration in the game to create many opportunities but I was really happy with the way the lads stood firm and worked extremely hard for the cause. It certainly looks good with John Pritchard and Godwin Abadaki both returning soon and a potential signing next week as we look to try and catch Rugby Town and Loughborough Dynamo. We do still have 2 games in hand and with our superior goal difference which is worth a point I believe we have a real chance to put something together.
Overall we looked hard to beat, and with a little more composure and luck we could have nicked all three points. But I think the game was a fair draw for both teams.
We now travel Tuesday night for a friendly Vs Congleton and give lads some minutes and look at a couple of new prospects.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.