Manchester’s first game of the New Year started off on a frustrating note as they were beaten 4-2 by London City at the National Cycling Centre.
Two goals from Byron Andrew, and goals from Tobias Seeto and Seth Burkett was enough to secure all three points for the visitors.
Adam Lavin and Doug Reed got the goals for the Blues but ultimately their efforts were not enough to secure the win for Manchester.
It was a frustrating afternoon with some resolute defending from London City and some very effective counter-attacking futsal from both sides made this game very attractive on the eye but sadly without the points that the Blues needed.
Head Coach Sergi Saldana was left frustrated by his team’s play in the final third and but still feels his team put in a lot of effort.
“We were not clinical enough today, at times were very one-dimensional and did not know what to do when we got into the final third. They sat back when they took the lead and made it very difficult for us to break them down. Confidence in the creative department is low and it is something that we need to work on in training for the rest of the season.”
It was a very physical first half from both sides as big challenges were put in early on. Jordan Edge and Byron Andrews for London City were the creative players early on and were looking to dictate the play.
Experienced London City player Tobias Seeto had a chance on eight minutes from a short corner which could only find the side netting.
Manchester broke the deadlock moments later with some intelligent play. A short free kick from the right-hand side was driven in by Jamie Vinas and Adam Lavin was found at the far post to give the Blues the early advantage.
Straight from the resulting kick off London City were through on goal with Jake Gilder but can only find the outside of the post.
Doug Reed prevented another chance for London City as he brings down Seth Burkett to put himself in the referee’s book for the afternoon.
The visitors were getting frustrated towards the end of the first half due to Manchester’s resolute defending which led to a time out from the visitors.
Sam Richardson and Debon found themselves unlucky not to score nearer to the half time whistle with an effort from our skipper well saved by London City’s Mindaugas Labuckos and Debon hits a sweetly struck volley from Adam Lavin’s corner which is only just over the crossbar and would have been a sensational goal if it found the target.
London City came out in the second half the stronger side and scored straight away as Tobias Seeto drove the ball from right to left and found Seth Burkett to make the score level at 1-1.
Seeto was causing more problems for Manchester as he found Burkett again, but his header is only wide of the right-hand post.
London City then took the lead with the momentum going their way as Tobias Seeto got the goal for the visitors.
Manchester were trying to make something happen as Adam Lavin and Raducio King were proving effective with the pivoting and physicality in the final third of the court and were creating chances for the hosts.
London City then scored a third when a shot from Jake Glider is saved by Luke Berry but the rebound falls nice to Byron Andrew to give the visitors a two goal advantage.
Joaquin Garcia Kimet could have got Manchester back into the game from close change but his chip over the keeper was not hit with any conviction and was cleared off the line by the defenders.
Manchester needed a breather and called a timeout with two minutes from time as they needed to re-group. Straight from this they got a goal and potential lifeline as Doug Reed got in behind thanks to fly-keeper Raducio King and the fight back was on.
But London City spoiled the party with just 90 seconds left as Tobias Seeto’s long ball was deflected into the path of Byron Andrew who found the net and sealed the points for the visitors.
[Credit to Marc Taylor]