1st November 2003 - St. Ita's (A) - AMATEUR CUP

The first round of the Amateur Cup gave us a tough draw - away to St. Ita's, who currently ply their trade in the Saturday Premier Division. Memories of the last match between Villa and Ita's were still fresh in the mind, that time we finished the game with 8 men and they had 10. Before the kick off we were treated to a fireworks display - not too sure if it was the residents of St. Ita's institution or the supporters of St. Ita's FC who thought it a good idea to put fireworks in cans and let them off so close to people and cars - but luckily no one was hurt.

No mistaking Ita's play a nice style of football, but they are also extremely tough in the tackle. Most of their threat came from the pace of their two centre forwards. For the fir st 20-25 minutes we managed to hold a very tidy offside line and this began to frustrate Zipper and his mate! After about half an hour they won a corner, the subsequent clearance fell to an Ita's player whose attempted cross deceived everyone as it hooked fortuitously into the net. It was a real fluke as there is no doubt that it was intended as a cross. We did not have many clear-cut attempts on goal in the first period and at half time it was 1-0 to the home side.

The second half followed the pattern of the first, Ita's pressing forward which meant we had to defend in numbers. We were being overrun in midfield and not creating enough up front. Their second goal was the result of a cross from their left to an unmarked Zipper on the back post and he bundled it into the net. 2-0 and another impromptu fireworks display from the "kids" on the sideline! At this point the Villa heads dropped a little bit and with both of our centre halves carrying slight injuries it was going to be a difficult end to the game. Unfortunately we could not hold them to 2 goals and a lovely right wing cross was finished with a diving header to give them (a perhaps flattering) 3-0 lead.

We did continue to battle and compete and got our reward in the final minute when John O'Reilly opened his account for the season with a close range effort after their keeper had dropped a corner.

After accusing Hylo of dressing up as a goalkeeper for Halloween before the game, he certainly put all of last weeks problems behind him as he was boss in his area - he either caught or punched everything that came his way and even ended up with a nice cut on his leg as a souvenir after diving bravely at the feet of an onrushing midfielder. We have played worse and won. We just need that first victory to give us the belief and then take it from there. Lets hope it arrives soon.