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Man City Game 1 2011

The sun was shining brightly in Manchester when the excited Citizens fans arrived for the first Football Aid game of the day at the highly impressive City of Manchester Stadium. The Premier League Groundsmen of the year had produced a phenomenal playing surface. The players were thrilled to have the chance to pull on their personalised kits and march out of the tunnel to grace the same hallowed turf that first team stars like Tevez, Silva and Kompany had been playing on so well all season.

Monday the 18th of April 2011
Manchester City Home vs Manchester City Away
Kick Off: 10:30am
Legends: Mike Sheron, Neil Pointon and Ian Brightwell
Match Officials: Steve Foster, Douglas Foster, Nathan Burke and Gary Burke

The Away team, wearing dark blue, got the game underway. The home side began brightly with a neat move that created the first opportunity of the game. Some excellent ball retention led to Home number 8 Phil Reavey getting off a decent effort from distance the swerved away from the goal. The team is sky blue were pressing high up the pitch and this tactic was paying dividends, centre half Jim Rae getting a shot on goal that was well held by away keeper Sam Godsall.

The Away side had looked to have gotten over the early jitters, but it was again the Home team that threatened next with a fabulous piece of skill from right winger Diego Ponze, that allowed him space to get off a wayward shot from a wide position. The dark blues soon got their first chance of the match. Away centre half Sam Elliot had been trying to launch counterattacks throughout early stages. A defence splitting pass brought them up the field and a challenge on Jamie Stidwell about 25 yards from goal created a bizarre opportunity that Goalkeeper Steve Exley failed to clear.

The game was starting to yield half chances for each team before an incredible last ditch challenge from Dave Buglass prevented Stidwell from having a clear shot at goal after a great through ball from Gareth Richards. The Away side again threatened, this time with a well worked cross from Richards that led to a header from outside the area that sneaked over the bar.

The next chance fell to the home team. After some effective, direct passing John Jessop fed a pass to John Watts whose low shot was well saved by Godsall down to his right. Not long after, Godsall turned provider; his punt sailing over the Home line and getting picked up by Michael Dalton, whose lofted shot over the goalkeeper drifted wide of the post. Goalkeeper Exley was again soon called into action, saving well from legend Brightwell’s low shot. Right midfielder Richards had been causing havoc with his crosses from deep, and he set up Dalton for another great chance, his “Di-Canio” style scissor kick rolling past the near post.

The home side had been quiet, but a fantastic through ball from Captain James McDonald put Mark Randfield into a good position who was unable to get a well hit shot on target. They again were unable to break the deadlock when John Jessop failed to get a good connection from an incredible cross from legend Mike Sheron. Immediately Jim Rae put in a cross of similar quality, with Tony Hine this time the player unable to convert.

There was an immediate response from the men in dark blue, Martin Wallace showing great skill to control the ball with his chest and with his back to goal unleash an overhead kick that ended narrowly wide of the goal. It was a great effort. Richard Smedley was next to come close for the away side, blasting over the bar after good control in the box.

Half-Time: Manchester City Home 0 - 0 Manchester City Away

The Home team got the game back underway for the second half. Both teams had created openings but had not yet been able to score in the first half, and sets of fresh legs on both teams would be looking to change this.

It was only minutes after the break that the deadlock was broken by the away team. Jamie Stidwell who in the 51st minute collected an excellent lofted through ball from Richards on the right of midfield and catching the ball on the half bounce lobbed Exley expertly. It was a superb finish and Stidwell celebrated with a just as well executed “aeroplane” celebration! (0-1)

The home team responded well and tried to get back into the game with a number of ranged efforts, notably a rasping shot from James McDonald was saved in some style by Godsall, the away ‘keeper diving to his right and getting a strong hand to McDonald’s effort.

The team in sky blue were applying good pressure in a bid to equalize when they had one of their best chances so far, Thomas Sowerby released Ponze with a superb pass, who dragged his low shot wide of the far post. It wasn’t long before Ponze had a chance to redeem himself, but again he was unable to take his chance; a pass intended for Hine ricocheted through the Away defensive line where Ponze attempted to round Godsall, but the goalie made a good block.

The Home team kept pressing for an equaliser and almost got it from a Jim Rae free kick after a foul on Ponze on the edge of the area, the defender shooting low under the wall only to be denied again by Godsall. They came close again seconds later, after Ponze took the ball round Kieran Brooks before Hine failed to turn in his excellent cross by inches.

The away team carved out a great chance against the run of play to relieve some pressure, Richards receiving the ball from a poor kick from Exley, and curled a shot towards goal from 25 yards out. Exley was able to recover with a superb save. Another chance followed soon after from Darren Barfoot who shot low after collecting a square pass from Stidwell. Again, Exley was equal to the effort.

The dark blues had another great chance not long after, Adam Locker touching the ball onto the right foot of Richards, whose strike hit the inside of the post before agonizingly running along the goal line. The Home side were going to have to dig deep to try and find an equalizer and prevent the Away team from scoring another.

Stidwell and Elliot both had further chances, and their side was awarded a free kick in the box after the Goalkeeper picked up Jim Rae’s backpass. Sam Elliot was the man to try at goal, his effort skimming the bar on its way over. That was the last kick of the game, and the Away side had won a hard fought victory!

Full-Time: Manchester City Home 0 - 1 Manchester City Away

Man of the Match Home: Steve Exley
Man of the Match Away: Sam Elliot
Moment of the Match: Sam Godsall

Home Team: Exley, Sowerby, Sheron, Pointon, Rae, Buglass, McDonald (Capt), Ponze, Reavey,Hine, Watts, Jessop, Timbrell, Shaw, Randfield

Mascot: Deacon Smith

Away Team: Godsall, Cardey, Brightwell, Brooks, Elliot, Smale, Richards, Dalton, Stidwell, Wallace, Smedley, Barfoot, Cannon, Marlor, Cardey

Mascot: Lewis Smale