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Man Utd Game 2 2011

The sun was shining in the city of Manchester as the Red Devil fans arrived at Old Trafford for the second Football Aid game of the day at one of the biggest clubs in the world. The groundsmen were working on the hallowed turf all morning and the pitch was in phenomenal condition. The excitement of the United fans was heightened as legend Clayton Blackmore was on hand to offer some words of wisdom to all the players.

Tuesday 31st May 2011
Man United Home vs Man United Away
Game: 2
Kick Off: 11:30am
Legend: Clayton Blackmore
Match Officials: Andy Winnard, Terry Connolly, Mike Brannigan and Ashley Slaughter

The two captains shook hands, with the Home team's Garner deciding to shoot from right to left and it was Rossi's team in White shirts who got the match underway. They instantly lost possession however and the opening chance came about when Cooper back heeled it into the path of Gary Pleace but his left foot curler was palmed away by goalkeeper Costello.

A long clearance from Blackmore sent the White's speedster Luke Howitt away, beating his maker for pace. The Keeper came rushing out and the No 11 went past the stranded Phillips but right back Luiz Ferreira brilliantly got back so his side didn't concede first. The ball got played back out to the corner taker Dave Taylor and his cross was met by the head of Russell but it bounced into the Home No 1's hands who gathered comfortably.

The next chance saw Luke Howitt through in similar fashion but his attempt was straight at the goalkeeper, who was having a good start to his game. Then Taylor should have done better as he drove into the penalty but dragged his shot past the far post. At this stage Captain Rossi will have been happy with his side's positive start to the game.

Shorty afterwards the Home team's all-action defender Adrian Alcock put his body in the firing line to stop his team going behind with some brave defending on several occasions. The Away side kept the pressure up and had a firm grip on the game at this stage but the Reds remained determined to get a foot on the ball and retain some possession.

The Home side seized their first real chance in the 16th min as a break away left their defender Hudson one against one, Cooper was in support but the No 4's squared pass was too hard for the striker. The Red Devils would have been devastated not to have opened the scoring with that chance.

Taylor had another unopposed chance inside the area but the keeper did well to parry the stinging shot. On the back of this a cross was delivered to Rossi standing free at the back post, but the No 10 headed wide of the target.

The game was developing into a midfield battle at this stage, with both sides struggling to get a meaningful effort on goal, however the Away side continued to push and broke the deadlock on the 28th min. A route one ball from Blackmore cleared the Reds defence and No 11 Luke Howitt's perfect first time lob lifted the ball over the keeper and under the bar. Great finish! (0-1)

The Away side were getting behind the Red defence time after time and they had another chance when captain Rossi was in on his favoured left foot. He aimed for the top corner; however his effort didn't end up as planned when the ball rose into the stands. He was disappointed with himself, the captain had been having a great game so far and you would have put your money on him scoring there.

The next chance fell to the Reds, with a good counter attack and link up play causing havoc for their opponents. Hudson beat his man putting the defence on the back foot, but his lifted shot crept over the goalkeeper but went fractions wide past the post. The Reds broke through again, Elliot King's fancy footwork driving him into the box. But just as the No 10 was about to shoot, a superb stretching leg knocked it from under his legs and out for a corner. Captain Rossi's challenge kept the lead for his side there.

However, two consecutive breakaways put the Red Devils under real pressure. From the Home side's corner interplay between Dave Taylor and goal scorer Luke Howitt put Forbes one on one, but Goalkeeper Simon Phillips made himself big, pulling off a fantastic double save to his team's relief. It wasn't long before the Whites doubled their lead however; Legend Blackmore was responsible for sending the ball over the opponent's defensive line to find Dave Taylor driving forward, ignoring his team-mate in the No 11 shirt (who was looking for the square ball), Taylor instead ran in on goal and rolled the ball coolly past the goalkeeper. (0-2)

With a minute to go Tony Hine should have made it 3 and will be kicking himself for this miss. The Away side had a series of passes finding Forbes in space on the right, he delivered a low ball to the penalty spot with the striker running onto it perfectly but he could only put it over the bar. Blackmore was then dispossessed from the goal kick passing the ball out to Taylor and another dangerous ball to the back post was heading back across to Rossi. His glancing header looped towards the top corner but was somehow tipped away by goalkeeper Phillips. The No 1 finished the half on top form and his great performance so far had definitely kept the scoring down at this stage.

Half-Time: Manchester United Home 0 - 2 Manchester United Away

The Red team kicked off the second half, keen to get back into the game. The question was could the Home side make a comeback? And they succeeded early on, piling on the pressure and scoring on the back of some impressive link up play with King at the heart of it all. The ball fell kindly to Neil Cooper who duly lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper from the penalty spot. A composed finish by the forward, instantly pulling one back for his side. (1-2)

Next up Adrian Alcock showed real determination and inspirational defending 5 mins in. The defender threw himself in front of a Taylor shot, which was drifting towards the top corner, knocking the wind out of him. The Red Devils had really come out fired up after halftime!

The Home side had come out a different side, great shape throughout the line up and their passing and movement was first class. Their No 7 Reed came close, but his shot could only sting the hands of the goalkeeper.

All hopes started to shatter as John Ross put his Away side 2 up again though. The playmaker started his side's first promising move of the half by skipping past his opponent. Impressive triangle football then left Rossi in space where he fired a half volley which hit the inside of the far post, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot. It was always only going to be a matter of time before this creative battler put his name on the score sheet. (1-3)

This did not dishearten the Home side, who were still convinced they could stage a comeback. The driving force of King played Jonathan Hudson into the box, where the No 4 tried to side-foot the ball under the keeper, but it got trapped in the stopper's legs. The Reds were starting to constantly pressurise the defence and Tait then curled one round the goalkeeper but his stretched hand tipped it round for a corner. Rossi then had another left foot chance but it was well saved by the goalkeeper.

Surely it was only a matter of time before the goals would come for the Red Devils. Less than two mins later winger Reed drilled a low cross into the 6 yard box, however midfielder King couldn't sort his body shape in time and put his shot over the bar. Immediately after the No 10 had another opportunity from the edge but the goalkeeper gathered his low attempt. There were chances galore for the Home side but they couldn't quite get the ball across the goal line, with Reed, King and Blackmore all coming close.

73 mins in and Elliot King made a forward run into the penalty area, created some space for himself and curled the ball perfectly into the far side of the net. The Home team were delighted to get a goal back and rightly so.... (2-3)

However straight from the kick-off the White team came close; breaking away two on two Taylor delivered a cross past Blackmore which was also missed by the other defender. Hine's high control had his back to goal and keeping his eye on the ball he produced a high, standing over head kick which was tipped up by the goalkeeper. Great technique by the No 9 there.

Straight away the Reds countered and unbelievably levelled the game. Blackmore's long ball down the left channel found Jonathan Hudson; his first time pass across the pitch met the run of Neil Cooper and with the goalie rushing out the No 9 took the ball round him before passing it into the goal. Brilliant comeback! (3-3)

Even worse was to follow for the Away team when a series of slack passes by the Whites would eventually cost them a goal and their half time lead. 1st up Christopher Reed intercepted a poor pass, then used his pace to get behind the defence, but he couldn't slide the ball round the goalkeeper. Then another misplaced pass from the goal kick went straight to Cooper; he cleverly laid the ball off to the left and Jonathan Hudson's first time effort curled over the goalkeeper into the roof of the net to put the Reds ahead. (4-3)

The Home side scored their 5th goal of the half after a spectacular chest and volley which curled in off the top corner of the post. Reed was the provider with a high ball that was superbly executed by the impressive Elliot King for his second of the game. Blowing a kiss into the crowd the No 10 was absolutely delighted with that finish. (5-3)

From the centre the Away side's Rossi and Taylor linked up well, driving their team forward into the box. The back post cross fell straight to Luke Howitt's head but his effort flew over the bar. The forward was kicking himself for missing that opportunity.

The full time whistle was blown soon after on a match that had seen both sides produce a hugely enjoyable spectacle for all the fans. The match itself was undoubtedly one of the top games from Football Aid's 2011 season.

Full-Time: Man United Home 5 - 3 Man United Away

Man of the Match (Home): Simon Phillips
Man of the Match (Away): John Ross
Moment of the Match: Neil Cooper

Home Team: Phillips, Ferreira, Clayton Blackmore (second half) Hudson, Garner, Pleace, Reed, Medlicott, Cooper, King, Hudson, Tait, Alcock, Musson, Devine.

Mascots: Leila Mai Ferreira and Edward Hudson

Away Team: Costello, Vokes, Clayton Blackmore (first half), Mark Howitt, Buster Smith, Lee Smith, Dave Taylor, Forbes, Hine, Ross, Luke Howitt, Bembridge, Russell, Foster.

Mascots: Darius Russell and Jack Ross