Reserves: Man City v Blackburn & Lots More
New member, Pedmachine knows all about the MCFC Reserves structure and now we at VMC are fortunate to have our very own touchline reporter.
I am sure that there are those amongst who remember with passion the Reserves Central League matches at Maine Road? In those days, if City were playing say Blackburn away then the Reserves played Blackburn at home, same time kick-off. And we remember looking at the old green scoreboard trying to see which number was being carried to the slot to give us the latest score from the first team's match.
Attendances were generally in four figures and you would see a hero or two coming back from injury and also you would be assessing who will be the next big thing to make it onto the first team stage.We even got a free ticket from school which allowed ten of us in for nothing.
Today we play our Reserves Home matches on-site at the Regional Athletics Arena adjacent to the Stadium. Attendances are not good. Is that because it seems to bucket down with rain every Tuesday night (indeed our first match there was postponed due to a hailstorm in August!), is it because of television distractions - Tuesday is often a Champion League night. Is it because fans have lost track of it all due to the rapid changes over the last few years? Is it because fans would rather see us play at Hyde United`s Ewen Fields Stadium?
There seems to be considerable support for the last idea because crowds can be up to three times as many when matches take place at Hyde, which is a true non-league football stadium with a pitch like a snooker table, regardless of the weather. Well done to Charlie who looks after that wonderful field.
Despite the fact that the number of players that we have out on loan left us a bit short of numbers to play in the Totesport.com League this season we can once again experience an excellent level of football in the FAPL Reserves League and see first hand the continuing number of young footballers looking to make their way at this exceptional football club.
On Tuesday 6 April 2010, there couldn't have two more contrasting teams. Visitors Blackburn Rovers fielded a side that looked like one of the Reserves mentioned above from years ago. There was young talent in the form of Di Santo & Hanley, a World Cup player, Basturk and players returning from injury, Nelsen & Chimbonda. By contrast City sent out a largely under-19 side, some of which have made their way into first team thinking despite the recent influx of players, Trippier, Ibrahim & Nimely and a greater number of younger potential stars of the future.
When you think of a 0-0 draw doom and gloom often pervades but this was an end to end match with defences on top where Blackburn played in true style to the watching Sam Allardyce and Ryan Nelsen gave no quarter as he systematically set about upsetting Alex Nimely`s game, sometimes in the most cynical of fashions. He managed to keep himself out of the referee's notebook somehow unlike Vince Grella who was yellow carded for what looked like a scything challenge, before he surrendered himself through injury.
There were chances for both teams to win and in fairness with the personnel that Rovers had available it should really have been their match, but fair play to City's young team. They fought for every ball, created scoreable chances for Robbie Mak, David Ball & Alex Nimely only to be denied by resolute Blackburn defending.
At the defensive end of things we twice cleared goal bound efforts off the line and defended resolutely ourselves leaving Andy Welsh to tell us after the match that although the scoreline reads 0-0, this was in effect a moral victory for City's young team. They played and fought hard for a deserved result against a team way ahead in terms of experience. This was indeed the case and is once again a pre-emption for the return of a team to the Totesport.com League where young players can face difficult opposition every week and learn the beautiful game very quickly.
When you go to watch Reserves matches quite often players returning from injury play half a match at 50-60% throttle. Fair play to the Rovers returnees. They were up for this and determined to catch Big Sam's eye for their match against Stretford`s finest this weekend. One or two of them may well have done that especially Ryan Nelsen.
There is one more match left this season at the Regional Arena against Wigan next Tuesday (13 April 2010 KO 1900hrs). Please get yourselves along there if you can. Cardholders get in for nothing and for the rest of us it is only £3 or £1 concessions.