Magical Vegas FC recorded their 5th victory in a row against quality opposition, FC Blacksmiths, in a topsy turvy battle for a place in the top 4 of the Islington Midweek Premier League.
The game began with Blacksmiths maintaining more possession but without getting any penetration through a solid looking Vegas defence. Vegas needed a kick up the backside, it came in the most extreme way possible. A cross from the left hand side was nodded in by the Blacksmiths striker after neither goalie nor centre back took control of the situation.
Vegas immediately pressed higher and upped their tempo. Patrick Moore Jones ran down the left but was cut off, somehow centre back (and man of the match) Hussein Hussein had backed him up, he got hold of the ball and struck a fierce shot that the Blacksmiths goalie fumbled. Paul 'Trigz' Reid followed it up, only for his effort to ping off the bar, luckily (and miraculously) Vegas' other centre back Allag was lurking in the box to nod home from 5 yards out to draw the team level.
Vegas were now pressing higher and higher and winning the duals in the centre midfield, with Mark Maher delivering dangerous passes for attackers to run on to. Most notably when his perfect through ball found Ricardo Beckford cutting in from the right who slotted home only to be flagged for off-side despite looking 3/4 yards onside when the ball was played! Blacksmith's game plan was to play early balls into the channels from the back but when a miscued pass from one of their centre backs went straight to Moore Jones, he headed it straight into the path of Trigz who calmly flicked it over the onrushing goalies head and tapped in to make it 2-1.
Vegas had now set up camp in the Blacksmiths half, but without creating too many clear cut opportunities. When they came in at half-time they still felt their lead should have been greater. When the 2nd half began the pattern of play was intense, with tackles and commitment being prominent over flair and creativity.
Blacksmiths suddenly drew level when a cross was nodded in at the near post. The attacker seemed to be holding his marker down as he jumped but the (poor) referee deemed it fair and allowed the goal to stand. Vegas needed to change something, wingers Moore Jones and Beckford where replaced by Luke Morgan and Micheal Appiah to add impetus to their attack.
However, the change was not in the direction they had hoped initially. Somehow a long-ball played forward by Blacksmiths was chested back towards the goalie from right back Nick Loblack that did not quite have the power on it to reach him, Summers and the striker clashed and the ball luckily fell kindly for the Blacksmiths striker to poke home and put Vegas 2-3 down with just 20mins to go.
Vegas seemed more mobile on the flanks and Appiah quickly had opposition defenders committing themselves leaving gaps in behind. It was however a set-piece that lead to them scoring their third. Trigz struck a free-kick from 30 yards out that the goalie could only parry, (again) Allag was lurking in the box and after his initial follow up had been saved, he cut the ball back expertly to find Hussein at the back post. Who despite having 3 men on the line blocking his line to goal, fired a perfect effort into the roof of the net to the delight of his Vegas teammates.
Erol Resat replaced Jacob Bond with Trigz dropping a little deeper and immediately Resat almost had his third goal in 3 sub appearances only for his effort to be brilliantly saved by the Blacksmiths goalie. Nevertheless, the winner came soon after but this time the goalie covered himself in egg instead of glory. Trigz lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box on the right, his curling effort inexplicably slipped through the keepers arms and through his legs to make it 4-3.
There was still time for Blacksmiths to crash a brilliant volley against the bar and Matthew Summers to make a brilliant save from another headed chance of a corner before the final whistle blew. Vegas had won 5 in a row and up to 4th in the league table. More of the same expected from them in a top-of-the-table clash next week against league challengers Islington 49r's.