Manchester signed off into the festive period in style with a 10-7 win over Reading in what was a highly entertaining encounter.
A hat-trick from Raducio King helped the Blues on their way to a festive three points, Peyman Sarlakchivaei, Debon, Kimet and Scott Thompson all chipped into the goal tally to round off a perfect ten for the Blues.
Reading battled tenaciously and valiantly right up until the last kick but their efforts weren’t rewarded with any points. Goals from Leonardo Mieli, Flavio Domasio, Blaise Gapp and Sergio Morales contributed to their brief successes.
It was an eventful first period and it started off as lively as it initially promised in the build-up. The first opportunity fell to the visitors as a quick kick-in was acrobatically volleyed by Leonardo Mieli which went well wide, but certainly indicated the potential threat that Reading brought with them.
Chance after chance then fell for the hosts in the first five minutes, with Raducio King, Jordi Texido and Sam Richardson having attempts blocked by a stubborn Reading backline.
The away team had a good stroke of fortune as the loose ball fell kindly to Flavio Domasio to give Reading the lead against the run of play.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to reply. Raducio King got the better of Reading’s Jonathan Martin on the left-hand side and calmly finished past the helpless Daniel Simon Lobo in between the sticks.
Another slice of good luck came for Reading as Blaise Gapp saw his shot saved by Pinto, only for his effort to land at his feet once more for an easy tap-in. The Manchester shot stopper was understandably frustrated due to the manner that Reading’s first goal came about just moments earlier.
It was the beginning of a debut to remember for Peyman Sarlakchivaei as he linked up superbly with Giles Collier and then calmly finished past the onrushing keeper to level the scores once more.
Manchester then took the lead for the first time, Raducio King at his magical best beat three players to simply lay off Debon to his right and finished into the top corner. No chance for Lobo as he tried desperately to back track to his near post to keep the shot out.
The goals didn’t stop there, Reading, who were outfitted all in red, quickly fired back as Domasio rounded Debon and Pinto in between the sticks before his shot cannoned off the post but fell kindly to Ivan Lopez for yet another tap in for the Berkshire-based outfit.
A timeout was called just before a free-kick was given for a pass back to Lobo in the Reading net. The resulting free-kick saw Kimet’s effort rocket past a bewildered Reading defence.
Manchester then scored again, and bear in mind this is still the first half of the game. A free kick from around ten metres out on the right saw Jordi Texido play a low ball to King who was unmarked at the back post for a simple finish, and what was the Blues’ fifth of the afternoon.
Reading however continued to battle honourably and tenaciously and immediately hit back with a superb tiki-taka style goal. Leonardo Mieli found Sergio Morales and used superb vision to find Flavio Domasio at the far post to close the gap to just one goal at 5-4.
Amazingly there were more goals to come in the first period. Raducio King was involved once again as he spotted Peyman Sarlakchivaei making a run and unmarked on the left. He managed to round Lobo and finish to make it 6-4, in a game that was a true definition of a Christmas cracker.
With ten goals in the first half alone, it was predicted that the game was calm down in the second half, but it didn’t, not even slightly.
Just three minutes into it, a long ball was played from Texido and found Kimet and his first-time pass left the goalkeeper in no-mans land, he found King who had the simplest of tap-ins to make it 7-4, and it was a case of ‘as you were’ in the second half.
A mistake from Kimet gave the ball to Sergio Morales in the final third and played a neat ball across to Leonardo Mieli to give the Reds yet another lifeline in the game. The match showed no signs of letting up.
Manchester were then caught on the break with 11 minutes left on the clock, as a defensive lapse from the Blues saw Ivan Lopez play in Leonardo Mieli to bring the game to 7-6. Nobody predicted how the game was going to end up and the unpredictably and swash-buckling effect of the affair’s momentum was difficult to fathom.
Academy graduate Scott Thompson made sure that this would be a day that he’d never forget. An outstanding through ball was played to him by Raducio King, and he found the youngster through on goal and his attempt need the help of the woodwork to find its way into the back for the net, and a hugely embracive celebration for him.
Reading were not done just yet. Leonardo Mieli caught Manchester napping again and found Sergi Morales at the back post to bring the score to 8-7 with six minutes left to play.
There was a level of intensity in the atmosphere which has not been felt for a long time at Belle Vue. A timeout call for the Blues with exactly five minutes to go had the game balancing on a knife edge. Anything could still happen.
But with two minutes to go, Manchester looked to have put the game to bed. Kimet intercepted a pass from Ivan Lopez to put himself through on goal with Peyman running along side him, the Spaniard opted to shoot and restored the Blues’ two-goal cushion.
With the clock ticking, Sergio Morales had brought down a shot and half volleyed over the top of Pinto’s net for the away side. A crucial moment in the game.
Manchester then sealed the deal for sure as Kimet counter-attacked and held up play well and support arrived in the form of Raducio King, who got his hat-trick, and sealed all three points for a very Merry Christmas for the Blues.