Villa 0; St Saviour’s 1
Villa Football Club hosted their first ever Premier League game under the new floodlights at Connors Park on Saturday night last but it was not an occasion that will live in their memory for very long because the home side never really got to grips with the game at all and for the third game running they failed to score.
St Saviour’s on the other hand were full of running and they were determined to build on their superb victory away against Waterford Crystal the previous week, something they did in real style.
This was their 8th win in the top league, and it is worth noting that they are the only one of the ten clubs in the league not to have drawn a game this season.
On the way out of the ground a wag who supports the club stated that “The Saints wont get relegated this season”. His comment brought about a lot of laughter from the Ballybeg folk who came to watch the game. Another supporter had the view that “The Saints will win the league” and when one takes a close look at the league table, he could be very near the mark.
St Saviour’s have been the talk of the town this season following their promotion from Division 1A and whatever happens from here on in they can hold their heads up proudly and quite rightly claim to have given local soccer a badly needed lift.
They play a simple brand of football, direct and fully committed, and their fitness is a joy to behold. Have no doubt about it, the Premier League title could be on its way to Ballybeg come the end of the season.
St Saviour’s almost got off to a dream start when Stephen Dalton whipped over a corner-kick from the right in the 3rd minute. His well directed flag kick was met by Aaron O’Neill who shot hard and low at goal. His shot beat the Villa goalkeeper Philip Tobin but full back Des Mullett was in the right place to kick the ball off the line.
Seven minutes later Jimmy Barry of the Villa crossed from the right to the far upright but Declan Woodgate could only drag his shot across the St Saviour’s goalmouth.
Ian Cantwell then picked out Jimmy Barry but the latter shot well wide. One minute later Eoin Ginnetty passed to Conor McDonald but he was also well off target.
Five minutes before the interval Joe Twomey of St Saviour’s took off on a brilliant solo run for the centre of the field before being fouled by Declan Furlong on the edge of the penalty area.
The Villa defender was booked for checking the mazy run of Twomey. Billy Barron cracked the free into the Villa defensive wall and when it came back to James Kennedy he was just over the crossbar with a good volley.
The goal which gave St Saviour’s the points arrived four minutes into the second half. Left full-back John Keane came forward to take St Saviour’s 5th corner kick of the game. He played the ball to the near post from the right and when Brian O’Donoghue peeled away from Ian O’Sullivan he tucked the ball past Philip Tobin from 8 yards.
Ian Tilson found himself inside the St Saviour’s six yards box on 51 minutes as the Saints defenders tried to play him offside but Tilson failed to get his header on target after Ian Cantwell had done all the hard work.
Joe Twomey brought a fine save from Philip Tobin on 64 minutes and then Joe Twomey did the same 8 minutes later as the Villa faded from the game completely.
This result has all but ruled Villa out of the league race and if they fail to start scoring goals, they could be facing a tough end to the season.
Villa: Philip Tobin, Des Mullett, Eoin Ginnetty, Declan Furlong, Ian O’Sullivan, Nicky Corcoran, Ian Cantwell, Jimmy Barry, Ian Tilson, Conor McDonald, Declan Woodgate. Subs: Niall Henneberry for Barry (85 mins), Danny Sheridan for Ginnetty (87 mins).
St Saviour’s: Graham Cleary, Philip Penkert, John Keane, James Kennedy, Kenny McLawrence, John Paul Jacob, Aaron O’Neill, Brian O’Donoghue, Billy Barron, Stephen Dalton, Joe Twomey.
Referee: Noel Purcell.