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Leicester City 2011

The Walkers Stadium would play host to Football Aid 2011 at Leicester City on a chilly May evening. The pitch was in great condition as Foxes fans took to the floodlit field for a never to be forgotten 90 minutes of football. Just the week before Leicester had beaten Ipswich in the last game of the season so the fans would be expecting a similar level of entertainment. They were not to be disappointed.

Sunday 15th May
Leicester City Home vs Leicester City Away
Kick Off: 20.00
Match Officials: Tom Brammal, Matt Tyres, Paul Cooper, Paul Matthewson

The Home side were in the traditional blue top and the Away side wore a brightly coloured yellow number. It was the team in yellow who would get us underway. The Away side were handed their first opportunity of the match when Daniel Thomas exploited the space left between the two centre backs and darted through on goal. Jamie Thomas in goal for the home side did well to narrow the angle and make the chance as difficult as possible for his brother who could only fire wide of the target.

The game had started at a furious pace with direct passes zipping about the pristine Walkers Stadium surface. Both sides were battling hard in an attempt to control the game and looked very well matched, especially in midfield.

The Away side were nearly in front after a beautifully crafted move. Harland controlled the ball and beat his marker with the same touch before playing a pass out wide to Evans who drove forward before his defence splitting pass put Thomas through on goal. His curling effort looked to be sailing into the top corner only stopped by a superb fingertip save by his brother in goal. Thorpe then whipped in the corner which Whitby crashed off the crossbar. A  couple of narrow escapes for the Home side.

Minutes later the Away side would get another excellent chance to put them ahead when Dean Thorpe’s stunning through ball found Whitby, who had managed to sneak in unseen by the home defence. Whitby’s effort was well blocked by Thomas in goal who had rushed from his line having spotted the danger.

Despite the Away side’s dominance, it would be the Home team who would be first to put the ball in the net. Bennett brought down a long ball and flicked a pass with the outside of his foot for Bergin who had gone clear. The number 8 lashed the ball home but was denied by the linesman’s flag for being narrowly offside.

The Home side wouldn’t have to wait long until they broke the deadlock. Chris Nettel finished off a great move which started from the back. Richards picked up the ball from Thomas and drove forward into the opposition half before finding Bennett who did well to turn and find Nettel who managed to carve out space for himself before firing the ball past Preston in goal. (1-0)

The last few minutes of the first half would pass without incident. The Away side no doubt kicking themselves for not taking their chances but full credit to the Home team who were clinical when given opportunities in front of goal.

Half-Time: Leicester City Home 1-0 Leicester City Away

The opening period of the second half would be a very even affair. Both sides battled hard for possession although neither created any clear cut opportunities. The Home side then managed to double their lead ten minutes into the second half through a fabulous solo goal from Chris Nettel. Bennett with his back to goal laid it off to Nettel who controlled well then fired the ball into the back of the net from 20 yards. It was a great strike which left the keeper no chance. (2-0)

As the match progressed it would be the Home side that would begin to dictate the play. Bradley would go close with a free kick which went narrowly over the bar before Scott Bennett added his side’s third with a well taken goal. Bennett battled hard in midfield before feeding Richards and making an intelligent run into the box. Richards hit the by line and did well to hold the ball up for Nettel who played a neat pass in for Bennett to smash into the top corner. (3-0)

The Away side almost hit back straight away with O’Gorman and Whitby combining well before O’Gorman’s snap shot from 20 yards. Keeper Thomas reacted well to knock the ball round the post to safety. Thomas almost turned from hero to villain as he spilled the resultant corner to Whitby who could only manage to poke the ball over the bar.

The Home side would kill the game off as a contest midway through the second half. The formidable duo of Nettel and Bennett, who had stuck up a great partnership would, would strike again to give the home side what would surely prove to be an unassailable lead. From a throw in Nettel showed good acceleration hitting the by-line and beating his man. He fired a low ball across the face of goal for Bennett to slot home from three yards. The Away side now doubt ruing their earlier missed chances. (4-0)

The Home side would not have it all their own way however as the Away side hit back almost immediately from the restart. Landers did well to win the ball in midfield before playing the ball out wide to Harland. Andrew Harland showed great skill and technique before curling an exquisite effort into the top corner. A truly superb strike by the big centre forward. (4-1)

That goal seemed to have sparked the Away side into life and they tried frantically to claw themselves back into the game. Both O’Gorman and Bob Thorpe would go close with ambitious long range efforts.

The Away side would give themselves a glimmer of hope late on in the game and could dream of the chance of a late come back. Keeper Thomas on the other hand will probably still be having nightmares about the goal. Stephen Whitby got his head to a high ball at the edge of the box and looped a header towards goal. The effort looked harmless enough but somehow Thomas completely missed the ball as he went to catch it and could only watch as the ball bounced over the line. Whitby will no doubt be delighted but for Thomas it will take the shine off an otherwise excellent performance. (4-2)

In the dying embers of the game the Away side struck again to give them a real chance of taking something from the game. Dean Thorpe took a high ball in midfield and took his time before picking out Evans who spotted Harland’s run and played a delicious ball slicing open the defence. Harland picked his spot but his effort was well saved by Thomas. Unfortunately for the keeper the rebound fell to his brother Daniel Thomas who showed no hesitation in blasting the ball home from 8 yards. Could the Away side do the unthinkable and square the game with only two minutes remaining? – Game on! (4-3)

Try as they might the side in yellow couldn’t fashion another opportunity as from a corner the Home side were content to try and hold on to the ball and run the clock down. The referee blew his whistle and brought a close to proceedings in what was an excellent clash between two very good sides.

Full-Time: Leicester City Home 4-3 Leicester City Away

Man of the Match Home: Adam Duffett
Man of the Match Away: Stephen Whitby
Moment of the Match: Chris Nettel 

Home Team: Jamie Thomas, Spencer Hill, Sonnie Kerr, Adam Duffett, Baljinger Singh, Jason Bradley, Thomas Bergin, Scott Bennet, Chris Nettel, Jason Guy (subs) Ricky Robson, Lance Tomlyn, Jeremy Richards

Mascot: Jak Richards

Away Team: Mark Preston, Samuel Davis, Paul Whitby, Robert Thorpe, Adrian Landers, Dean Thorpe, Sam Evans, Stephen Whitby, Martin O’Gorman, Daniel Thomas (subs) Andrew Holdsworth, Andrew Harland

Mascot: Benjamin O’Gorman