Magical Vegas gave both their best performance of the season and suffered their most painful defeat in the space of 90minutes last night in the 2nd round of the Islington Gazette Cup. Vegas started perfectly with a combination of clever passing, good movement and controlled positioning against a SYFC side that had knocked out Premiership leaders, Islington 49rs in the previous round.
They were ahead after just 5 minutes when Shane McNamara launched a throw into the box that was met by Paul 'Trigz' Reid to put the Vegas boys 1-0 up. SYFC couldnt string 3 passes together and when another midfield battle was won realesing Kaleb King who slid a perfect pass for Patrick Moore Jones to run in one-on-one with the keeper. He was hauled down by the left-back for a penalty that Moore Jones scored to put Vegas in control. It got better when moments later a brilliant team move that started in defense, went through the midfield that released right winger Luke Morgan in on goal who squared to Trigz to tap in for his second of the game. Vegas continued to play with freedom and the precision of their passing and positioning gave SYFC no chance to attack. Holes conituned to open up in the SYFC defense and Vegas could have scored more but half chances where missed. Nevertheless, they were in complete control when the referee made a shocking decision in a rare SYFC break that gave them a foothold in the game.
After a miscommunication from a throw in, an SYFC striker found himself about to shoot in the Vegas box but an well-timed slide tackle from Nick Loblack should have saved the side from danger> However, the referee deemed otherwise and gave a penalty to the amazment of the Vegas team. After much complaining, an SYFC midfielder stepped up and struck the penalty in the bottom right hand corner which Matthew Summers dived down and fingertip saved around the post. Vegas' joy was short-lived as - again - to their amazement, the ref ordered a re-take for encroachment! The re-taken penalty was scored and Vegas had 2 very big reasons to feel aggreived coming in a half-time winning 3-1.
The second half was not to follow the pattern of the frist. Somehow, SYFC started finding holes in the midfield and Vegas lost their shape which allowed SYFC to start pinging long balls into their (very tall) front man. Nevertheless, most of the situations were dealt with, but when SYFC started creating good chances Vegas seemed to go into their shell and worry entered the mind of players that have suffered some painful defeats already this season. The simple, pass-to-feet and move principals they had stuck to in the first half dissappeared as longer balls into the channel and rushed clearences did not releave pressure. It eventually told after Vegas should have made is 4-1 at one end, the break away resulted in a glancing header from the front man to make it 3-2. SYFC started to build pressure and their 2nd huge gift from the referee came in the 80th minute when a corner was whipped in and clearly struck an SYFC attacker on the hand, it was diverted into the path of another SYFC attacker who scrambled in the ball from 3 yards out. The referee called 'ball-to-hand' (which is crazy as they gained an advantage from it - he saw it!) and allowed the goal to stand. Misery was compounded in the 85th minute when a free-kick - one of many uneccessary conceded in the 2nd half - was saved by Summers only for the rebound to be crossed back across the goalface that found a Vegas' defenders shin and went in for an own goal.
When the final whistle blew disbelief set in on the Vegas boys and injustice was the main feeling around the dressing room. Now the main cup is out the way, Vegas must turn their attention to climbing the league against an Arya side they pummeled 8-2 early this year in Division 1 next week. Draw a line in the ground, get over it and move on!