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Nostalgia Match of the Day 2006: Passage v Villa United

PREMIER League 9/4/06

Passage 0 Villa United 3

Second half sub Derek O’Connor scored on the double as Villa United, the leaders in the AUL Premier League, sent homesters Passage tumbling to a 3-0 defeat.

The win was well deserved, the margin not at all flattering against a very limited Rockenham outfit. The city crew could well have been in front at the break but Brendan Sheehan hit a post before outstanding Passage keeper Daniel O'Leary made a brilliant save from Villa skipper Conor O’Neill.

Passage had their best spell in the first quarter. Then Villa were uncertain under the long clearances by Daniel O'Leary but Patrick Coakley and Eric Burke failed to take advantage.

Coakley drew two saves from visiting keeper Brian O’Leary. The first came in the 5th minute when the shot from a narrow angle was well stopped.

The keeper stopped Coakley again in the 15th minute. Then the Passage striker got through on a rare error by David Knowles and was denied by a great save. In between, Burke was off target from 20 yards when he raced onto a header out by Maurice O’Neill.

Villa soon shook off the cobwebs and Brendan Sheehan gave Passage an 18th minute wake up call when, following a free in by Maurice O'Neill, he drove across the goal and hit the far post.

In the 27th minute, Mervyn O’Connor raced across to make a timely tackle on Sheehan who had been played in by Lawrence Betts.

Home keeper O'Leary went on to produce a top drawer save in the 34th minute. Conor O'Neill exchanged passes with brother Eoin and let fly from just inside the box. It looked a cert for the corner until the young keeper somehow managed to make up the ground and turn the flying shot away for a flag kick.

It was all Villa after the break. John Betts got a slight touch with his head to a Knowles corner but it went straight to the keeper. In the 50th minute, sub Alan Daniels set up Conor Murray for a shot that was blocked and then Conor O’Neill had a fresh air off the rebound.

O’Neill, one of three brothers on the Villa side, was unlucky a few minutes later when he got clear on the right, connected with a pass from John Betts but drove low across the goal and wide of the far post. 

Passage were under constant pressure and keeper O'Leary did well to block Murray when he got away on his own in the 56th minute.

Passage might have stolen a lead goal against the run of play a minute later when Burke sent Duggan free in the box but keeper O’Leary saved well with his legs.

Villa then introduced sub Derek O'Connor and he scored the opener in the 63rd minute, swooping on the loose ball after Conor O’Neill had made a nuisance of himself in the Passage box.

Home keeper O’Leary then made a fine save from O'Neill before Passage went two behind in the 67th minute. This time O’Connor was the provider. He worked his way to the endline and got in a terrific cross that made it very easy for his skipper O’Neill to head in at the far post.

With less than six minutes to go, Villa sub John Paul Murphy surged through the middle and unloaded an inviting pass to O’Connor who beat the gallant keeper to make it 3-0 and send Passage closer to the drop zone.

Passage: Daniel O'Leary, Eoin Lombard, Gavin O’Connor, Mervyn O’Connor, John Carroll, Gary Prout, James O'Leary (captain), Niall Duggan, Patrick Coakley, Eric Burke and Senan Andrews. Subs: Martin Murphy for Carroll (52nd minute) and Gary McCarthy for Andrews (68th).
Villa United: Brian O'Leary, Jonathan McCarthy, Terry O’Callaghan, Maurice O’Neill, David Knowles, Conor Murray, Eoin O'Neill (15), John Betts, Lawrence Betts, Conor O'Neill (captain) and Brendan Sheehan. Subs: John Paul Murphy (16) for Murray (66th), Derek O’Connor (14) for Sheehan (58th minute), Alan Daniels (15) for E. O’Neill (at half-time), and Liam Dennehy (16).

Referee: Denis Crowley.