Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ellan Vannin 4 Cascadia 1

Match 140/17/1590 - Thursday, 31st May 2018 - CONIFA World Cup

Ellan Vannin (2) 4 Whitley 15 Jones 41 Caine 62 McVey 70
Cascadia (1) 1 Doughty 18
Estimated attendance: 300
Played at Sutton United

Admission: £6 Senior
Tournament Programme: £5
Mileage: 106/8,927

The CONIFA World Cup brings together not necessarily countries but regions within countries with flamboyant names that are impossible to pronounce let alone spell and leaving one to reach for the atlas (or Wikipedia) to find their whereabouts.

My attention was immediately drawn to the competition with the participation of Ellan Vannin, the Manx-Gaelic name for the Isle of Man. Despite my link to the Island being tenuous, my Dad lived at Selby Glen during his childhood, visits have left me with a great deal of affection for the place.

A Thursday midday kick-off was hardly an attractive proposition for the working football supporter, so I would say that the estimated crowd of around 300 was healthy. There were small clutches of support for both sides, a fantastic effort especially for those from Cascadia, a region from the West coast of America, representing the states of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

I did not know what to expect in terms of standard, by the finish of a highly entertaining game, I would say that the level was around that of Bostik South, although three of the goals would have graced any level.

Cascadia opened the game on the front foot and almost took a second minute lead when an effort from Max Oldham was deflected goalwards taking a goal line clearance to retrieve the situation.

Ellan Vallin took the lead, against the run of play, when a magnificent strike from Stephen Whitley found the top corner from around 25 yards.

The Island’s joy was short lived however and two minutes later a fine run and cross from Calum Ferguson set-up a side foot tap in at the far post for Josh Doughty.

Cascadia, playing in their first Conifa World Cup, looked the more likely of the sides during the majority of the first half including Oldham bringing a save out of Dean Kearnes, who had had some nervous moments previously.

However, it was Ellan Vallin who got their noses in front before the break when a surging run down the left from Sean Doyle set up a close range finish for Frank Jones.

If Cascadia went into the break feeling a little hard-done-by, they could not deny the dominance of Ellan Vannin in the second period that was decorated with two goals of real quality.

Just past the hour, Sam Caine set out on a run from inside his own half that weaved its way from the right before skipping a couple of final challenges that left him one-on-one with the goalkeeper before despatching his shot from around the penalty spot.

After 70 minutes, Ellan Vannin put the game to bed when a free kick from 25 yards from Jack McVey was curled into the top corner.

Cascadia had a goal ruled out for offside and a header from Oldham sailed over following a corner as they sought a second consolation goal.

But it was deservedly the Isle of Man side that take the points into their next game on Saturday against Tamil Eelam, from Sri Lanka at Carshalton before finishing the group stage against Barawa, the Somalian hosts of the competition, at Haringey on Sunday. Three group games in four days, can you imagine our pampered superstars coping with that schedule in Russia.

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