Manchester Head Coach Chris Vernon lauded debutant Richard Ward’s impact, as the England international scored two as Manchester beat Loughborough in a tense 4-3.
The 3-1 home defeat to Sheffield last time out was the club’s first FA Futsal National Super League Northern Division defeat since March 2013, and the boys needed three late goals to claim the three points.
Sam Richardson opened the scoring for the visitors, but a brace from Loughborough’s Grant Percival saw Manchester facing a second league defeat in three weeks.
However, Raducio King levelled in the 36th minute after Loughborough’s Connor Woodworth saw red for two yellow cards, before Ward’s double sealed the win.
And Vernon said that the impressive pivot’s international experience will be crucial if Manchester are to replicate their recent success again this year.
“He was very hungry today,” he said.
“Debut, two goals and I could see he wanted that hat-trick as well. He was key today, leading from the top and I think he did really well.
“He's in that environment with the elite standard with the England squad and that's something that I personally wanted him to rub onto the other players here.
Another player to receive the coach’s plaudits was King, who followed up his consolation against Sheffield with the important leveller this time out.
Vernon hailed the Dutchman’s skills, but insisted there was further room for improvement in the 25-year-old’s game.
“He's definitely a player who has individual ability, he's great on the ball,” he said.
“He had his opportunity and he takes two touches then he's done the job.
“I won't shy away from saying he takes too many at times, but that's the kind of player he is and I don't want to spoil him.
“I always want him to express himself but I'm just glad that his two touches have done the job.”
The lads now face another frustrating until December 6 to pull the blue shirt on again, with Loughborough again the opponents in three weeks time.
And although Vernon again admitted his frustration with the sparse schedule, he highlighted the team’s need to retain their focus ahead of a rematch with a much-improved Loughborough team, of whom he was generous in his praise.
“There's not much the FA can do about it and there's not much we can do about it, we just need to get on and train,” he said.
“We'll double the training sessions and take it from there, we'll have the lads ready to play a good Loughborough team.
“This is a really good team compared to previous Loughborough teams, and I don't mean that disrespectfully.
“But it's going to be one where we have to fire the lads up again because they're playing the same opposition.
“It's not going to be the hardest thing but I want them to be fired up and ready to play because Loughborough will do damage if you let them.”
Article by Andy Donley