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Birmingham City 2011

The city of Birmingham welcomed Football Aid 2011 to St Andrews on a bright but chilly night in the West Midlands. There was a real sense of anticipation and almost dread around the ground as the all important last game of the season was looming. However, thoughts of the week ahead did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the Blues fans who were fired up for an epic and thoroughly entertaining encounter.

Monday 16th May 2011
Birmingham City Home vs Birmingham City Away
Kick Off: 19.00
Playing Legends: Jerry Gill and Jeff Kenna
Managing Legends: Dean Holt and Kevan Broadhurst
Match Officials: Richards Cutts, Ian Murphy, Kevin Andrews & Mike Bingham

The Home side got the game underway shooting from left to right and they would waste no time in stamping their authority on the game. From their very first attack they won a corner which former player Gill whipped into the box. Baxter did well winning the header and was unlucky to see the ball cleared off the line by Lee. The rebound fell to Baxter whose wicked shot was well saved by Hopkins before Thomas managed to block the ball and stop it from running over the line. Before Thomas could control the ball, Mario Zachariou reacted quickly to fire the ball into the goal for an early lead for the Home side. A great start for the blues. (1-0)

After taking an early lead the Blue side had their tails up and began piling on the pressure on the Away team and Hopkins had to react smartly on a couple of occasions to prevent the Home side extending their lead even further.

After 20 mins the Home side looked odds on to double this advantage when Baxter showed terrific vision playing a long ball over the top for Phillips to chase. With Phillips through on goal and just about to pull the trigger, the Away team were saved by Cox, who came from nowhere to put in a last ditch and surely goal saving tackle. You will not see many finer all season.

As time wore on in the first half the Away team began to look more comfortable on the ball and as a result the match became much more even. The game was hotly contested in the middle of the park with both sides struggling to create any meaningful chances. A few half chances were created but both sides showed that while they were battling equally hard in midfield, they were also equally wasteful in front on goal.

On the half hour mark the Home team had a glorious chance to double their lead. Phillips did well to hold the ball in midfield before looking up and spotting the run of Gray. He sprayed a long pass over the heads of the defence. Gray managed to time his run to perfection and spring the offside trap. Clear on goal, Gray perhaps thought he had less time than he did and opted to pull the trigger from 20 yards stroking the ball narrowly wide.

They wouldn't have long to wait until they did take the lead however. It is a rarity that a keeper gets an assist but that is exactly what happened when Boon's kick out went over the heads of the poorly positioned defence. Simon Phillips wasted no time in chasing down the lose ball before taking a touch and slotting the ball past the helpless keeper. (2-0)

Before the end of the half the Home side almost put the game out of sight when Phillips again was put through. This time however Hopkins reacted smartly to pull off a good save. The rebound fell to Gray who clipped the ball back in for Zachariou but all the No 9 could manage was to blaze over from 5 yards.

That was how the first half ended with the Home side in front with a deserving lead. The away side did create a few half chances and were certainly showing they weren't there to make up the numbers but would need to improve in the second half if they are to take anything from the game.

Half-Time: Birmingham City Home 2 - 0 Birmingham City Away

The second half started in much the same way that the first had ended. It wasn't long again until the Home side added to their tally when Zachariou was found with a great diagonal cross. Hopkins came for the ball and missed when the ball fell for the striker. But Zachariou delayed too long in shooting and the empty net was quickly filled with white shirts determined to keep the score as low as possible. Fortunately for the away side Zachariou could only find the side netting with his effort.

Ten minutes into the second half the Home team would kill the game off as a contest. Burley and Gill worked a short corner well with Gill crossing into the middle. The defence stepped out but to their horror the flag wasn't raised and Dave Rudman was left to header the ball into the bottom corner. (3-0)

The Away side were almost handed a lifeline mid-way through the second half. A corner was lofted in which Robinson won well. His header crashed off the top of the bar and Robinson could only look on as agonisingly the ball dropped only to hit the bar again and bounce behind for a goal kick.

The match ebbed and flowed with no side managing to create. The Away side gave themselves a great chance when Jones played a neat one two with Horton and crossed into the box. Jones' cross was missed by everyone and fell kindly for Allen who had time and space but the striker couldn't keep his composure and fired his first time effort well wide of the mark.

Despite more pressure from the Away side, it would be the Home who would get onto the score sheet next. Former player Gill went on a mazy run from the half way line and got to the edge of the box before playing a neat through ball to Mario Zachariou who held his nerve and finished well, slotting it past Hopkins for his side's fourth goal. With only fifteen minutes left the Home side surely now wouldn't be caught. (4-0)

The Away team piled on the pressure in an attempt to break their duck. At one point keeper Hopkins even came up for a corner. Unfortunately their efforts were to no avail as the match official blew for full time. It finished 4-0 to the Home side and they earned what was a well deserved victory.

Full-Time: Birmingham City Home 4-0 Birmingham City Away

Man of the Match Home: Andy Baxter
Man of the Match Away:
Gary Jones
Moment of the Match:
Martyn Cox

Home Team: Simon Boon (capt), Paul Roberts, Jerry Gill (Legend), David Travis, Nicholas Baker, Andy Gray, Luke Dilloway, Baljinder Singh, Mario Zachariou, Andy Baxter, Simon Phillips (subs) Paul Mills, Dave Rudman, Russell Williams, Anthony Burley
Manager: Dean Holt
Mascot: Ben Baxter 

Away Team: Paul Hopkins, Michael Lee, Jeff Kenna (Legend), Gary Thomas, Martyn Cox, Billy Lough, Gary Jones, Matt Sheehan, Paul Kimber, Andrew Allen, Daniel Horton (capt) (subs) Kevin Nicholls, Alan Robinson, Paul Fahy
Manager: Kevan Broadhurst
Mascot: Rhys Gee