|It's a Goal! FC makes it's debut!|
A squad representing It's a Goal! enters the 5th E.A.S.I Cup in Manchester, an international event promoting mental health and social inclusion...
The 5th EASI ( European Association for Sport and Social Integration) Cup held at the Armitage Centre in Manchester provided the backdrop for the first competitive outing for IAG (It's a Goal!) FC. Having only been together for a short time and having had only two training sessions, hopes were not particularly high, and the feeling was one of using the tournament as experience and a guide for the future. As it turned out however, expectations were exceeded and the team were eventually disappointed at not making the knockout phase of the competition.
The first match involved playing against Fokus from the Czech Republic and IAG, playing under the name Macclesfield Town, gained a creditable draw. In fact, a couple of gilt edged chances went begging that would eventually prove costly when the points and goals were tallied up. The first win however was not long in coming, as Slough All Stars were beaten 1-0 thanks to a well taken strike from Neil Marsom. High hopes were then rudely brought down to earth after a 0-4 thumping from Beco All Stars (Wirral), and gave a view of how much work needed to be done. Goals from Craig Ainsworth and Andy Barber clinched a 2-0 win against Grassroots B (Manchester) and left IAG needing only a point from their final group game to seal a place in the quarter finals, a feat most would have believed unattainable before the competition began. Unfortunately, the match was against a strong Peoples Voice team from Wigan who ended up being the beaten finalists and were too strong on the day. The 0-3 scoreline actually did great credit to IAG who battled to the end and finished a worthy third in their group losing out on a knockout place by goal difference.
All in all however, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the general feeling was that IAG should make a determined effort to compete in the forthcoming North West Mental Health league which is to take place at the JJB Soccerdome in Manchester. The EASI Cup gave the team a good experience and understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of potential rivals in the league. Feedback from the organisers also hailed the efforts of the team given their sparse preparation, when many of the teams in the competition had been together for months and in some cases, years.