25th October 2003 - Blanchardstown United (H)

Where to begin? If nothing else this game was incident packed - it had goals, red & yellow cards, dodgy refereeing decisions and ultimately, a cruel twist right at the death.

Blanchardstown came into the game with a perfect played 4 won 4 record, and it was clear to see why. They played some very nice football and were not afraid to get stuck in in the tackle either, clearly demonstrated by their number 2 who had two two footed challenges for which he was lucky to stay on the park, but then (in my unbiased opinion) the referee did Villa absolutely no favours all afternoon.

The visitors took the lead when their centre forward found himself in space and coolly lobbed the ball over Hylo, their second followed soon after when an unfortunate deflection on a cross saw Gareth deflect the ball into his own net - not a lot defender or goalkeeper could do about it. This season our style of play has never been to put the heads down and accept defeat, and we began what may have seemed an unlikely comeback. Lenny took control in midfield and started testing their defence with some excellent runs and trickery! One such run produced a lovely pass to the back post where Billy was in the right place at the right t i me to slot the ball home from 6 yards. Our second was an absolute beauty, the ball fell to Declan about 35 yards from goal, he let it bounce once before lobbing an inch perfect shot over the stranded keeper. 2-2 and Villa had their tails up. Once again Le nny's pace was causing the Blanchardstown defence all sorts of problems and another penetrating run saw him beat a couple of defenders before rounding the goalie and side footing the ball home. To be honest it was the best 20-25 minutes of football we had played all season, and it just goes to show what we can do when we have the confidence to play football. Shortly after, their left winger broke infield and was running towards goal only to be crudely halted by The Doc, it could have been a straight red card but luckily Sean had managed to get goal side so was the last defender. Only a yellow card, but a good goal scoring opportunity thwarted so well worth the booking! At the break we held a possibly unlikely lead.

Blanch, made a couple of changes at half ti me, most significantly moving the No 8 from left wing to centre forward. His pace was to prove a thorn in the side of the Doc for the remainder of the afternoon. We started the second half well and were creating as many chances as they were. Two mistakes f rom the Doc could have been costly, fortunately a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Stretch and some wasteful finishing saved his blushes. They kept piling the pressure on and cracks were starting to show. They eventually drew level with a goal very simila r to our first, a cross from the right finished from close range. Some of their celebrations were to say the least provocative and we did well not to react to their taunts. Unfortunately, not long after the equaliser the Doc was late in a tackle, and recei ved a second yellow card, which resulted in the inevitable red card. It was proving difficult with 11 against 11 but 10 against 11 was going to be even tougher. But Villa dug in and defended like troopers! As time was almost up we won a corner, the ball wa s crossed in and cleared, luckily Gareth was in control of the situation as their No 8 chased in vain. Gar knocked it back to Hylo, unfortunately for us Hylo took his eye off the ball, it bounced over his foot and the grateful No 8 had the simple task of f inishing for a most undeserved victory.

Unfortunate as we were it just goes to show how well we can play and compete when we put our minds to it. We just have to keep the faith !

I have complained about the lack of numbers on many occasions, so I have to praise the effort of all who turned up this week. Lets keep up the good work and the first victory can only be around the corner.