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Man Utd Game 2 2009

Just days after Sir Alex Ferguson's men were crowned league Champions, there were 28 extremely proud individuals no doubt still in celebratory mood, as they walked out onto the hallowed Old Trafford pitch for the 2009 Football Aid event.

Wednesday 20th May 2009
Manchester Utd Home vs Manchester Utd Away
K.O: 15.30pm
Legends: Denis Irwin and Clayton Blackmore
Match Officials:
John Macrae, James Smith and David Smith

And it took just two minutes from kick-off for the action to start with a vengeance. Away left midfielder Leon Craven found himself clean through and seemed certain to start the game with a bang, only for the Home side's Luiz Ferreira to intervene at the vital moment in a tackle reminiscent of Gary Neville. Just 4 minutes later saw the first opportunity for the Home side. It stemmed from a free kick for the captain Paul Flitton who swept over a ball in Beckham-like fashion and following a flick-on in the penalty area it ended up just wide of the far post, much to the relief of the team in white. This pressure showed no sign of abating two minutes later, when Home centre forward Sandford had a right footed drive tipped over by the keeper. The end to end nature of the game continued with the best chance of the game so far on 10 minutes, following a long free kick Away midfielder Paul Bossons found himself clear through on goal, only to see his effort saved by goalkeeper Tony Blake.

The incessant attacking play was tempered on 15 minutes with a moment of class from Away goalkeeper Godsall as he flicked the ball over the onrushing Flitton's foot; this was not the last time the stopper was to excel himself. Home legend Dennis Irwin was also starting to make an impact on the match. First the increasingly impressive Away 8 Craven was to break free from the defence, but when in on goal Irwin put him under just enough pressure to ensure his curling shot would be easily held by the keeper. The former Republic of Ireland international was then to push forward, providing the ammunition for Sandford to provide a looping shot which was desperately clutched by Godsall under his crossbar. This was to provide the precedent for the opening goal of the match, half-way through the first period, a handball from the Away team gave the Home side a free-kick on the corner of the area. The ball was then floated in by the Home number five Michael Burke and powerfully headed Home by centre forward Steve Sandford (1-0).

Despite the Away side's best efforts the Home side were to extend their lead on 33 minutes following a close scare involving Flitton nearly chipping the goalkeeper. It was from Khan's great play and cross on the right flank and the ball was expertly lifted into the roof of the net by David Sparkes (2-0). But the tide was turned by the Away side when they hit back just minutes later. The build up play was done by Craven down the left, who put in a good cross which though initially cleared could only find its way to former Welsh international Clayton Blackmore who rifled the ball into the net to claim a goal back for the Away side (2-1).

This led to the Away side going on the offensive as the first half drew to a close. Craven once again found himself clean through, but after turning Irwin inside out his shot rose just over the bar and with that effort the 1st half drew to a close.

Half Time: Manchester Utd Home 2 - 1 Manchester Utd Away

The first action of the 2nd half saw Home No 7 Paul Flitton lining up a free kick outside of the area, with his dipping effort striking the crossbar, bedlam ensued in the penalty box and goalkeeper Godsall did well to punch clear. It was further good play from the right midfielder on 55 mins that took him clean through on goal, only to see his side-footed shot again saved by the keeper (replays showed that the shot had taken a deflection off Away number 4 David Preston which made Godsall's finger-tip save all the more impressive). The early exchanges developed into an end-to-end battle with both sides looking to land a decisive blow; and coming more and more into the game for the Home side was legend Denis Irwin. However, the former Republic of Ireland star was helpless to prevent his side conceding a corner on 68 mins which almost brought a spectacular equaliser for the white shirted Away side. Meeting the cross was the Away team's attacking midfielder Paul Bossons, however his left footed volley was dragged just wide of the post.

From this point on it was the in the Away team's defence where gaps were opening up with increasing regularity. On 77 mins Home substitute Matthew Hudson burst forward and squared to the energetic Steve Stanford, who seemed set to round the keeper before Sam Godsall flicked the ball Away. More attacking play from the Home side just two mins later saw captain Flitton clean through with only the Away substitute Beecham to beat. The defender however, in falling over in the tackle, diverted the ball with his hand and gives away a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box. The free-kick was struck with immense force by Sandford and was spectacularly pushed round the post by Godsall who was keeping his side in the contest.  

Such a contest was to repeat itself only seconds later when this time Flitton put a great ball through to Sandford who was left one on one with the keeper who pulls off another diving save. This series of saves was to take on an even greater significance in the 83rd min when Mark Andrews picked up the ball for the Away team, crossed inside for Clayton Blackmore (by this time pushing forward from left back to find an equaliser for his side) who chested the ball down and half-volleyed it into the top corner to level the scores (2-2).

This was undoubtedly against the run of play and instigated a final flurry of attacking play from the Home side in the hope of achieving a last gasp victory. First Tammam squared to Sibby Khan, who put his shot over the bar, and then Denis Irwin, pressing his team forward for one final push chipped the ball over to Sanford who yet again saw his goal bound effort foiled by the impressive Sam Godsall. On that note both teams were left exhausted and deadlocked as the referee blew the final whistle. Football Aid Ball

Full Time: Manchester Utd Home 2 - 2 Manchester Utd Away

Man of the Match (Home): Adrian Alcock
Man of the Match (Away): David Preston
Moment of the Match: Sam Godsall 

Home Team: T. Blake, L. Ferreira, Denis Irwin, A. Alcock, M. Burke, B. Singh, P. Flitton, D. Sparkes, R. Tammam, S. Khan, S. Sandford, G. Atkinson-Smith, P. Nevis, B. Burse, M. Hudson

Mascots: Jaden & Tianna Sandford

Away Team: S. Godsall, T. Craven, Clayton Blackmore, D. Preston, C. Swann, G. Swann, M. Andrews, L. Craven, G. Sanchez-Myles, P. Bossons, B. Sanchez-Myles, D. Traynor, D. Smart, L. Bryant, D. Beecham

Mascots: Owen & Olivia Traynor