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Aston Villa Game 1 2010

The Villa fans arriving at the impressive Villa Park stadium could have been forgiven for thinking what could have been, with their match coming the day after the FA Cup Final they had narrowly missed appearing in after a run to the Semis. However all thoughts of missed opportunities were banished to the back of their minds as they changed into their official kits and proudly walked down the atmospheric old tunnel onto the hallowed turf, ready to Live the Dream alongside club greats Shaun Teale, Mark Burke, Charlie Aitken and Chris Nicholl.

Sunday 16th May 2010
Aston Villa Home vs. Aston Villa Away
Game 1
Kick-Off: 11:00am
Legends: Shaun Teale, Mark Burke, Charlie Aitken and Chris Nicholl
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Thomas Mellor, James Reeder and Andrew Stevens

With the opposing teams being captained by Brothers Mark and Craig O'Donnell the pre-match coin tossing ritual was performed in a suitably friendly manner. However there were to be no favours given in the match and this was highlighted by the forcefulness of legend Shaune Teale's first challenge!

As the game settled down both teams were taking a bit of time to break through the defensive barriers and create chances in front of goal. It was the Away team, sporting the white jerseys, who were the first to sting the fingers of their opposition's goalkeeper with a strike from Daniel O'Donnell, but his effort from outside the area wasn't testing enough for Ian Pearce who saved well.

The contest was mainly secluded to the middle third of the pitch for the majority of the first half with the Home team's first real effort coming from a long range strike from their centre-mid Steven Diggory. He drove forward with the ball and let loose with a powerful low strike from 25 yards but the ball sailed just yards wide of the goalkeeper's right post.

Moments later the Home team came even closer to opening the scoring. Again it was a long range effort, this time from Alex Doveston, which soared towards goal before striking the crossbar and bouncing out for a goal-kick. With both teams looking equally equipped it appeared that someone would have to provide something special to break the deadlock.

Finally a goal came and it was a beautiful strike from Roger Dale that separated the teams. A cross into the box was cleared by the head of Adam Tredaway but only as far as Dale who controlled with his thigh before thumping the ball high into the top corner of the net from just inside the area. It was a wonderful strike by the winger but the Away team could feel a little lucky to be in front with the teams being so evenly matched (0-1).

With their one goal advantage the Away team continued to press, with Bailey striking the bar from a Daniel O'Donnell header. However it was to be the referee that gave the Home team a lifeline, when he awarded them a very soft penalty. It was Mark Burke who was adjudged to have brought down Diggory inside the area but going by his vehement protests Burke certainly didn't believe it was a foul. Diggory stepped up to the spot and struck it well right footed to the left, but goalkeeper Simon Dale went the right way and saved with his feet before watching the rebound go high over the bar.

As the half time whistle was blown the Away team were certainly grateful to be going into the break with their narrow lead still intact.

Half Time: Aston Villa Home 0 - 1 Aston Villa Away

The Home team got the second-half underway, searching for that all important equaliser but it was the Away team that made an immediate impact by doubling their lead only 5 mins after the restart. It was a darting run by the substitute Matthew Shearman, splitting the defenders and powering an effort at goal; the shot was saved by the feet of Ian Pearce but Steve Bailey was in the perfect position to place the rebound into an empty net (0-2).

Keeping their heads held high the Home team continued to keep on fighting and only moments later nearly managed to claw one back. Shaun Teale gathered the ball on the edge of the box and played a low ball across goal which was touched by Luke Ramplin before Roberto Scarcella touched it in at the back post. It seemed like the goal had been given but after conferring with his linesman on the far side the referee ruled it offside.

Simon Dale seemed relieved to have kept his clean-sheet courtesy of the referee but from a goal-kick moments later it looked like the friendship between the Away keeper and the referee had somewhat expired when he was booked for time-wasting. And Dale's day got even worse moments later courtesy of Alex Doveston; a long ball over the top was nodded on and the No 9 latched on to it, closing in on Dale before slotting it left footed past the keeper and wheeling away in jubilation (1-2).

The comeback was on! The Home team were now dominating the play and looking dangerous, and they would have levelled the scoring if it hadn't been for a second offside call from the linesman. It was Mark O'Donnell that put the ball past the keeper after latching on to a through ball, but the flag was up almost immediately. On second viewing it certainly looked like a very close call.  

Despite the positive progress within the Home camp it was a comprehensive breakaway from the Away team which ruled out the possible chances of a comeback. Daniel O'Donnell was the architect, producing an excellent run while shrugging off defenders and bearing down on goal. The No 10's shot was touched onto the bar by Pearce however it fell across goal and was touched into the net by Daniel Merritt (1-3).

The fourth was to follow soon enough for the team in White, goal-scorer Merritt collected the ball and drove up-field before laying it to Connett, the No 7 then played it to Matthew Shearman who cut inside and hammered a rising left-footed shot into the top right corner of the net for his second goal of the game. It was a great goal which surely secured the victory for the Away team! (1-4)

However the never give up attitude from the Home team was showing and despite being three goals behind they continued to look strong and they pulled one goal back when Doveston swung a searching cross in from the right which was met by the head of Diggory in the middle of the box, and he made amends for his penalty miss with a perfectly placed header into the back of the net (2-4).

The final goal of the game then came for the Away team, with Matthew Shearman completing his hat-trick. It had been an impressive 45 min display by the substitute and it was capped when his right foot effort from the edge of the area stayed low and crept just inside the right post (2-5).

That goal drew to a close the scoring action for the day, with the Away team's impressive second half performance enough to win it for the men in White. Their Captain Craig winning the bragging rights in the O'Donnell family this year!

Full-Time: Aston Villa Home 2 - 5 Aston Villa Away

Man of the Match Home: Alex Doveston
Man of the Match Away:
Craig O'Donnell
Moment of the Match:
Matthew Shearman

Home Team: Ian Pearce, James Taylor, Robert Thorpe, Adam Tredaway, Steven Diggory, Luke Ramplin, Dean Thorpe, Alex Doveston, Mark O'Donnell, Mark Taylor, Chris Hunt, Roberto Scarcella

Mascot: Keaton Chahal

Away Team: Simon Dale, Nick Hobley, Craig O'Donnell, Derek Shore, Darran Cooke, Jonathan Connett, Roger Dale, Daniel Merritt, Daniel O'Donnell, Steve Bailey, Balbir Kumar, Matthew Shearman, Michael Sheehy

Mascot: Niamh Cooke