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Birmingham City 2010

Football Aid were delighted to be making our return to St Andrews (after an enforced break in 2009 due to essential pitch maintenance) and with the 1st team enjoying such a successful return season in the Premier League the atmosphere amongst the devoted Blues fans couldn't have been better as their big match approached.

Thursday 6th May 2010
Birmingham City Home v Birmingham City Away
Kick Off: 7.00pm
Legends: Graham Hyde, Dean Holtham and Martin O'Connor
Match Officials: Richard Cutts, Malcolm Price, Ben Haddock and Tony Lloyd

Less than thirty seconds into the match a powerful run from Home No 7, Sav Christoforou, saw him steal the ball after a slack pass, race clear of the last defender and surge into the box, he then tried to square the ball for his team mate, but Away keeper, Gavin Cox, was on hand to make a smart save. That was to prove an early warning of things to come for the Away side as the Home team began the match in impressive fashion.

In only the 12th min a simple ball forward found acres of space between two defenders with Mario Zachariou of the Home side running through on goal, schoolboy defending that was soon to be adopted by the English team during the World Cup, Zachariou ran at the keeper before slotting low into the bottom right corner to give his side a deserved lead (1-0).

The game was quite one-sided at this point, with the Home team looking dangerous every time they came forward. Their superiority was rewarded again in the 21st min; the left back, Gill, passed to Mario Zachariou on the left side of the penalty area, he squared the ball across for Roger Dale who saw his shot blocked by defender Stuart Hall, but Sam Marsh was quickest to react to the rebound, smashing the ball into the top right corner with a no-nonsense finish (2-0).

They may have been two goals down but the Away side were not scared to push men forward when they had possession and that cavalier approach paid dividends just before the half hour mark; a move down the right saw John Symons cross the ball in to the centre for John Denley to collect, he checked back onto his right foot and from the edge of the area hit a great shot past Gary Thomas into the bottom left corner, a great goal that dragged the Away side back into the game (2-1).

The match had completely turned on its head now, with the Away side looking the more likely to score and the Home team having to sit deep and soak up some pressure; when the equaliser came however, in the 26th min, it was more down to individual error than anything created by the Away players. Paul Fahy misplaced a pass when in possession and the loose ball was gratefully picked up by John Symons inside the box, he duly skipped past the keeper and side footed into the empty net (2-2).

A frantic finish to the half had the spectators on their feet in appreciation; the Home team were awarded a corner and when the ball was swung in from the right it was met by a thumping header at the back post by Mario Zachariou, his effort going back across goal towards the far corner where it was cleared with a diving header from former Blues legend, Graham Hyde. Hyde's clearance was falling back inside the penalty area and Stewart Pass returned the favour with a diving header of his own directed at goal that was stopped by a combination of Stuart Hall and the keeper, Gavin Cox. Great stuff!

Half-Time: Birmingham City Home 2 - 2 Birmingham City Away

The second half began with the Away team in the ascendancy and they almost took the lead for the first time in the match; a long raking pass found John Denley in a race to the ball with Home defender, Jonathan Franklin, Franklin slid in to try and clear the danger, but only managed to flick the ball up in the air, Denley stayed on his feet and casually lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper with the outside of his right foot, watching on as the ball agonisingly bounced back off the crossbar and into the keepers arms!

In what was proving to be a genuine end-to-end classic, the next chance fell to the Home side; Mick Flaherty slid a pass in for Eddy Baxter to cut back across from the left, Mario Zachariou seeing his left foot effort blocked by Gavin Cox at his near post. Then in the 56th min a long ball from the back by Graham Hyde found Glenn Davis running through on goal, Gavin Cox rushed off his line to block to shot but the rebound fell to Richard Patterson who hit a right foot shot, but it was headed away for a corner by the left-back, Gill. A great piece of football all round.

Both sides were pouring forward at every opportunity in search of a winner and in the 70th min Away number eleven, John Denley, sprinted down the left wing and curled in a great left foot cross over the defence for team mate Richard Patterson at the back post, Patterson' right foot half-volley going straight at Gary Thomas who made the save well.

With the match seemingly heading towards a draw, both sets of players were fighting hard to try and grab that all important winner. The decisive goal eventually arrived in the 89th and final minute; Glenn Davis passed to John Denley, he passed the ball wide right for Richard Patterson who curled in a pinpoint right foot cross that picked out John Denley's run into the box, his glancing header finding the far left corner to spark scenes of both joy and despair on the pitch (2-3).

Full-Time: Birmingham City Home 2 - 3 Birmingham City Away

Man of the Match (Home): Andy Baxter
Man of the Match (Away): Gavin Cox
Moment of the Match: John Denley

Home Team: Gary Thomas, Paul Fahy, Jonathan Franklyn, Stewart Pass, Sam Marsh, Sav Christoforou, Iain Buckle, Mario Zachariou, Andy Baxter, Roger Dale, Mick Flaherty, Stuart Ellis, Eddy Baxter & Alan Porter

Away Team: Gavin Cox, Paul Manton, Graham Hyde, Stuart Hall, John Gaskarth, Richard Patterson, Andrew Adams, John Symons, Mark Crofts, John Denley, Glenn Davis, Alan Robinson, Adam Tierney & Paul Manton

Legends: Graham Hyde, Dean Holtham and Martin O'Connor

Mascots: Danny Flaherty & Hayleigh Tierney