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Aston Villa Game 2 2011

The players arrived at Villa Park for Football Aid's second game of the day in fantastic spirits at this famous old stadium. You could feel the buzz coming from both dressing rooms as the players pulled on their official kits and proudly walked down the widest tunnel in the English Premier League. Tony Morley, Gary Thompson, Mark Burke and Pat Heard were all on hand to lend their experience to both sets of players. As the players were just about to Live the Dream the floods of fans piled into the stands to see their loved ones at one of the highest attended Football Aid games!

Monday 27th May 2011
Aston Villa Home vs. Aston Villa Away
Game 2
Kick-Off: 18:00pm
Playing Legends: Mark Burke and Pat Heard
Managing Legends: Tony Morley and Gary Thompson Match Officials: Mark Taylor, Dave Beament, Richard Swaine and Ben Taylor

The Away side in all Black got the action underway at Villa Park. Tony Morley settled his side's pre-match nerves, whereas Gary Thompson got his team pumped up into a frenzy. It was Thompson's men starting stronger, spreading the ball across the pitch well. Andy Harland had the first shot on goal but his left foot effort wasn't troubling for old-school goalkeeper John Heath, keeping goal without gloves. The Home side in the famous claret and blue struggled to settle in the first 5 mins, but it was the Home side that struck first. John Dowd battled well to win the ball and played a searching through-ball to the orange booted Captain James Olden, 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper the No 11 did well to keep down his shot, half-volleying the ball into the right corner to put his side ahead. (1-0)

Despite the Home side taking the lead, the Away team kept their composure and retained possession well. Instantly the build up played in Andy Harland with only the keeper to beat from a tight angle, Heath made a save but the defence tucked back to clear the danger. 12 mins into the game Harland was involved again to help his team grab an equaliser. The No 11 driving down the channel and cutting on to his right foot, his stinging shot bounced off the goalkeeper's knees and out of the box. Edward Lovsey-Barton got his head down and placed the ball into the far right corner over the stretching goalkeeper. A lovely finish! (1-1)

Pat Heard then won a set piece, his delivery bounced before Mark Burke and awkwardly over his head. Getting a touch away Harland floated the loose ball to the back post, Fahey had two swinging attempts at the ball, with his second being saved then hitting the post. It wasn't long after the Away team took the lead for the first time in the game. Their impressive Centre half Massimo Garaventa started the build up play going forward, Harland had his shot blocked by Burke but it fell to the pressing midfielder Edward Lovsey-Barton to guide the ball past the goalkeeper for his 2nd of the game. (1-2)

20 mins played and from the Claret and Blue's centre the Blacks got control of the ball, knocking it around half-way with their opponents chasing shadows. The ball was played into the left channel, with Steven Howkins getting his head up and spotting strike partner Harland on the penalty spot. His cross come shot drifted across goal, over the goalkeeper and into the far corner. It was a good goal if he meant it! (1-3)

The pressure kept pilling on the Home defence with Harland hitting the far post before the speedy winger Bennati just failed to convert the follow up. Lovsey-Barton also came close with a curler from long distance, that sailed just wide of the post, hitting the side stanchion. The Away team really had a solid grip on the game so far.

Nicholas Hunt came close as the Away side backed off the pressing Home side. Olden passed the ball over to Hunt's run on the right, his cross drifted goal bound, but goalkeeper Brian Naylor spotted the early danger, tipping it over the cross bar. They did trouble the defence from the corner, with John Dowd rising well, but his header went straight into the goalie's hands.

With the Claret and Blues starting to create chances the opposing team in Black launched a counter attack, when a string of passes played Harland into the box. From the tight angle he did well to bend the ball round the goalkeeper, but Burke was there to save his side, somehow heading clear off the line. Tony Morley was devastated moments later as Heard and Lovsey-Barton linked up well, the No 6 picked Matteo Bennati's run out at the back post and the No 7 finished with ease with a comfortable header into the net. It looked like an inspirational half-time team talk would be needed for Morley's men. (1-4)

It was only a matter of time before the threatening Andrew Harland opened his scoring account for the day. A perfectly placed cross from Bennati was met by a first time volley from the tall No 11, beating Heath in the Home goal. On the stroke of half time the Away side had a comfortable 4 goal lead. (1-5)

As the first half whistle sounded you expected that Tony Morley would have to issue a few harsh words to spur his team back into this game. Gary Thompson left the field with a big smile on his face!


Half-Time: Aston Villa Home 1 - 5 Aston Villa Away


Morley kept cool at half time offering some great words of wisdom to his players and substitutions were made to hopefully get his team back into this game. The Claret and Sky Blues got the game underway at Villa Park, and the tactical changes created the first chance of the 2nd half, with Captain Olden setting a good example, but his headed effort drifted onto the roof of the net. It was extraordinary but the Villa Home team looked like a completely different squad and the men in Black struggled to get near them in the first 10.

Surely the goal was coming for the Home side as Paul Tippett delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but Olden didn't get the right connection with the ball. A few testing corners followed but they couldn't capitalise. It looked promising for the team that had struggled in the 1st half, the chances were coming but some astonishing defending stopped them from pulling one back.

Against all odds it was the Away side that opened the 2nd half scoring, with Andrew Harland creating some space in the box before firing the ball into the corner. A good finish, but Tony Morley was bemused as to how his side conceded again after starting so strongly. (1-6)

Next up Steve Bailey latched onto the end of Holland's deep cross, the No 15 had what was up until then the best chance of the half and should have pulled one back but couldn't quite guide it towards goal.

Attacking midfielder Paul Tippett was causing mayhem for his opponent's defence and he was at the heart of the majority of his side's attacks and with 5 mins to go the No 14 grabbed a well deserved goal. Wayne Batsford played a delightful through ball over the top to play Tippet in on goal, he duly smashed it home and no way was the goalkeeper going to stop it! (2-6)

Then with minutes to go Home No 16 Ben McLaughlin had a chance but he dragged his effort just past the post. A superb 2nd half performance from the Claret and Blues only lacked the goals that could have levelled up the game. The Away side may have tired slightly, as they only created a handful of chances in the 2nd half and the match certainly lived up to the cliché of being a game of two halves. All in all, a great game to watch and be involved in!


Full-Time: Aston Villa Home 2 - 6 Aston Villa Away


Man of the Match Home: John Heath
Man of the Match Away: Andrew Harland
Moment of the Match: Steven Howkins

Home Team: Heath, John Sabga, Mark Burke, O'Donnell, Taylor, Danny Dowd, Batsford, John Dowd, Connett, Hunt, Olden, Tippett, Bailey, McLaughlin, Holland. Manager: Tony Morley
Mascot: Laura-Jay Holden

Away Team: Naylor, Lloyd, Pat Heard, Garaventa, Turner, Edward Lovsey-Barton, Bennati, Fahey, Howkins, Godfrey, Harland, Moore, Barton, Edmund Sabga. Manager: Gary Thompson
Mascot: Megan Howkins