GOALS: WANDA NCUBE 3, JOE EPHGRAVE 2, ALI MANOLI
Scribe: Adam Mitchell
Vamps kicked off their new season at home with a thoroughly deserved victory, despite finding themselves 2-0 down after just 25mins from their opponent’s only shots on target in the entire fixture. Tareeq, at 19 years making an impressive and assured debut at Vamp Nou, was adjudged to have unfairly pulled down the pacey Weirside striker inside the box after 20 minutes of near-relentless Vamps pressure and possession, causing the young, card-toting (Tareeq, Wanda, Adam all picked up yellows), North American referee to award a penalty, wholly against the run of play. 1-0 Weirside.
Weirside grew more confident on the ball, shortly earning themselves their first corner of the day. With the ball placed down in a different postcode to the corner flag, the Vamps felt unlucky and slightly stunned that an uncontested Weirside header from just outside the 6-yard box saw them go 2-0 up. Step up skipper Joe Ephgrave, not at all used to losing at home, having gone full Mourinho (unbeaten at home) in his first season. Long may it continue. Vamps maintained confident, simple possession and continued to expose Weirside in wide areas. A neat through ball was tucked away by El Capitano just prior to half time. 2-1.
The introduction of Luke Fitz, for a limping Sam Connor, injected even more legs into the middle of the park, and the squad’s fitness proved way too much for Weirside in the second half. Wanda Ncube, having been reminded at half time that he might never get the opportunity to play at Vamp Nou again then proceeded to turn on the style. He opened his account with a rifled penalty into the roof of the net, having been won by the skipper having been brought down mid-pirouette. 2-2. Vowing not to be brought down in the box again shortly after, the skipper demonstrated coolness under pressure with a tidy finish to put the Vamps 3-2 up. Daylight.
An efficient second half performance at the back, and a continued high press across the middle, saw off what little threat remained and Weirside were done. 2 more Wanda-goals (pun intended) followed, including a fine shot into the inside netting from 15 yards out and a monster 40-yard finish having ran straight past the adventurous opposition goalkeeper who must’ve suffered a rush of blood to the head. 5-2. Dead-ball expert Ali Manoli also featured on the scoresheet and rounded things off with a free kick delivered into and entirely across the danger zone, nestling into the far bottom corner. A deserved goal for a tidy performance and was a constant threat when carrying the ball forward. 6-2.
A very impressive start to the new season with no one having a bad game and a good demonstration of this team’s ability to recover from adversity having seen them go unfairly behind. Roll on next week!
MOTM - Wanda (sorry Joe). 3 goals isn’t a bad way of saying goodbye. More goals for the Vamps than there are words. Denmark is lucky to have you.
Additional comments from manager Sam Connor:
Boys the character we showed today was unbelievable. It’s easy to say stay calm and believe we’ll come back, but completely different to do it. We keep the same attitude in every game and we’ll go far this year.
We know we can play great football, and we know now that we need to earn the right to play football against these teams - which means digging in and putting the work rate in for the full 90 minutes. That’s what’s going to keep winning us games.
Great games from everyone today. Enjoy your evenings and let’s keep this positivity going into next week! COYV!!