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Birmingham City 2012

Despite missing out on promotion to the Premier League in the playoffs, the Blues fans had a fantastic spirit about them in the evening kick off at St. Andrews. The game produced 90 mins of pure entertainment as both teams keenly contested victory in this year's Birmingham City Football Aid match.

It was the Home team that proved to have too much for their opponents in the end, running out   5-0 winners with goals by the devastating attacking partnership of Mario Zachariou (2) and Dave Taylor (3). The Away side battled throughout the whole 90 mins but the Home team's strong defensive unit was able to shut out the Away attack.

Leaving aside the score, it was a memorable moment for all the proud players involved and ensuring they enjoyed their day to the maximum, the ‘Blues' legends were out in force; Kevan Broadhurst, Nicky Eaden, Martin O'Connor and Dean Holtham, all were as enthusiastic and vocal as ever throughout the evening's proceedings.

Date: Wednesday 16th May 2012
Venue: St. Andrews
Birmingham City Home vs Birmingham City Away
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends: Kevan Broadhurst, Nicky Eaden, Martin O'Connor and Dean Holtham
Match Officials: Richard Cutts, Oliver Cross, Ben Powell and Robert Ryan

Buoyed by an inspirational speech by Away Captain Paul Fahey before the game, Away team Birmingham City legend, Martin O'Connor, helped to explain the changing room atmosphere further, just before kick off "...feeling confident...the boys have a good team spirit about them, still having a bit of banter in the changing room and up for the game tonight. Hopefully we can win..."

It was the changed kit of blue and navy stripes that kicked off the 2012 Birmingham City match. It was a steady start to the game in front of the very enthusiastic St Andrews Bluenoses as both teams were eager to register an early goal to settle the pre-match nerves. It was the Home team that were out of the blocks quickest, producing some fine passing moves.

In the 4th min a great ball by Home Captain Sean Farmer down the right wing found Football Aid regular Dave Taylor in plenty of space and enabled him to advance towards goal. As the defence couldn't match him for pace, his route to goal was clear, however his resultant shot was poor by Taylor's standards, and the keeper was able to kick the ball away to safety.

A few mins later and the Home side were parked in the Away half, and after constant pressure, only a great save by Away ‘keeper Jack McGovern kept the game goalless. A ball on the left wing was whipped into the box by Paul Kimber and across the 6 yard line. Excellent pressure by Seamus Kelly hurried Jack McGovern's defensive clearance which found Mario Zachariou just inside the area, but his goal-bound drive was saved well.

An exquisite long ball from the edge of the Home box by Nicky Eaden in the 16th min was enough for Dave Taylor to run after the ball. Both the Away ‘keeper Jack McGovern and Home Striker Taylor arrived at the ball at the same time, and the ball ricocheted away from goal, with the keeper reacting quickest to dive on the loose ball. However the ball somehow managed to escape keeper McGovern's grasp, and Zachariou (who was clearly wanting to get onto today's score-sheet after being a regular scorer in recent years) attempted a chip over the keeper, but the effort rebounded back off the cross bar and defender Tony Sewell was able to block Taylor's follow up.

The Home side didn't have it all their own way though and they had to be on their toes just after the 20 min mark. Receiving the ball from a throw-in, Tony Sewell was able to control the ball under no pressure in the centre of the pitch and fire a direct ball into the heart of the defence. Home Legend Eaden, off balance, was unable to clear the ball as it found the feet of Lee Smith. Using his momentum, the Away No 17 was able to knock the ball past the advancing keeper, but found himself at too tight an angle to direct the ball inside the posts with his left foot. Despite the effort going agonisingly wide, it did issue a warning to the Home side.

However, shortly afterwards some great work by Taylor and Farmer down the right wing was to produce the game's first goal. The ball found Taylor in the centre of the pitch who was able to beat a defender and pass the ball to Farmer on the near right wing. An instant left footed, in-swinging cross from the Captain was then met in the 6 yard box by Mario Zachariou, managing to get his name on the score-sheet with a cool side-foot finish. The Away defence were caught sleeping at the back and were punished for their loose man marking. (1-0)

The Home keeper was then called into action on the 29th min, and made a fantastic save. Great running down the right wing by Lee Smith picked out Iain Buckle on the touchline to then look up and play a pass across the edge of the box which was deflected to Jack Flavell. The low drive was aimed at the corner of the goal but was dealt with excellently by Home keeper Christopher Newman, who was able to dive low to his right and deflect the ball out for a corner kick.

The Home keeper was seeing a lot more of the ball as the first half came to a close, but the Away team's attacks were mostly resulting in long range shots, with Newman equal to all of them. At the opposite end of the pitch, Tony Sewell and Ricky Sewell were having very commanding games, nullifying most of the Home attacking moves.

However 2 mins before the half time interval, Dave Taylor was able to produce a piece of magic to give his team a two goal cushion. After gaining possession from a long clearance out by the Away defence, Taylor picked the ball up in the centre circle before driving at the Away midfield. The speedy No 7 was then allowed to weave in and out of three Away players before looking up and catching the keeper out, with a measured chip into the roof of the net. (2-0)

Just before the end of what was a hugely interesting 1st half there was a moment that Away goalkeeper Jack McGovern will not want to see on Match of the Day later on! After collecting an attempted through ball by Mario Zachariou in his box, his defenders and the opposition were all retreating back for the long kick up field. However, McGovern unfortunately mis-timed his connection to the ball and the ball skewed into the path of the ever alert Dave Taylor to control and side foot home from 12 yards. With the ball nestling into the corner of the net, Taylor was clearly delighted with his second goal in as many minutes. (3-0)

Half-Time: Birmingham City Home 3 - 0 Birmingham City Away

The Home team started off where they ended and got their 4th goal only 5 mins into the 2nd half. After a long ball up field by Sam Robinson, Tony Sewell was at the back to once again gain possession and pass to Ricky Sewell. Ricky Sewell, who was faultless up to this point, played an unfortunate pass straight to the opposition, Home No 11 Seamus Kelly had plenty of time to dribble towards goal, draw the keeper out of position before playing an unselfish ball across the 6 yard box to his strike partner Mario Zachariou to side-foot into the back of the net. (4-0)

The Away team kept battling despite the score-line and were almost rewarded for their efforts in the 55th min. Lee Smith, picking the ball up from a Home clearance close to the edge of the box, did excellently to play the ball out to the right wing for Daniel Brazier to play an instant cross into the box. The ball landed for Owen Williams to control it on his chest and volley towards goal, however Christopher Newman again stood tall, saving the shot before the ball was cleared away from danger. However, never the less the assistant referee on the near touchline had flagged for offside.

The game was evenly balanced for much of the 2nd half, with both teams only able to create half chances and both defences alert enough to clear any danger. Away team substitute Owen Williams was becoming more involved in the game, directing the Away team's attacking play.  

Taylor, Eaden and Kelly were involved again for the Home team on 65 mins. Taylor took a short corner in the top left of the St. Andrews pitch, which allowed Eaden and Kelly to combined for Kelly to scoop a cross over the keeper and to the back post. Three Home players were lining up to get onto the end of the cross, but it was No 16 Sam Robinson who jumped the highest to get his header on target, unfortunately the crossbar was in the way of Robinson registering his first Birmingham City goal!

Minutes later and Taylor thought he had completed his hat-trick. Taylor, who worked hard in this move, picked the ball up deep in his own half from an excellent interception by Sam Robinson. Taylor continued his run on the right wing before playing a great pass into the feet of playmaker Seamus Kelly. Kelly looked up and threaded the ball back to Taylor, who continued his run and rounded the keeper before finishing the move exquisitely. However the celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee who had flagged Taylor in an offside position when receiving the ball back from Kelly.

Home ‘keeper Newman came to the rescue again on 75 min, after a great effort by Owen Williams from 25 yards out. A short pass from Iain Buckle started the move, and Williams was able to turn, flick it past a defender and drill his attempt on target. The fingertips of Newman just got enough on the ball to push it onto the inside of the post for it to roll back across the line and out for a corner kick. Newman was clearly determined to keep a clean sheet in his ‘Live the Dream' game.

Tony Sewell, who also had a faultless game, must have been reading the same defender's manual as his brother on 78 mins, as it was Tony that got caught in possession on the near touchline by Taylor. Taylor was able to sprint into the free space behind the defenders and go clear for a one-on-one with the keeper. A side footed finish from close range was enough to clinch the impressive Dave Taylor's hat-trick. It was unfortunate for both ‘Mitchell Brothers' as they had been fantastic all evening at nullifying the Home team's regular attacking threats. (5-0)

Both teams were able to see out the remaining minutes with only long range efforts that didn't really test either keeper. The final score didn't quite reflect the game, as a few defensive mistakes made the score-line look more emphatic that it actually was. Although credit to the Home team who played a great attacking game and produced a fine team performance and it was clear at the final whistle from the enthusiastic crowd's cheering that every player did themselves and their respective supporters proud.

A post-match interview with Blues legend and Football Aid regular Kevan Broadhurst revealed how delighted he was with his team's 5-0 victory "...Fantastic Victory, really good game. I thought to be fair; it was 5-0 but didn't reflect the game. I thought our Goalkeeper [Christopher Newman] was Man of the Match, some terrific saves.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed it and they'll be back next year. Really pleasing result. I think it's the first time I've won in about 8 attempts so I'm delighted, we're going to go in there now and get some champagne..."

Full-Time: Birmingham City Home 5 - 0 Birmingham City Away

Man of the Match Home: Christopher Newman
Man of the Match Away: Ricky Sewell & Tony Sewell
Moment of the Match: Dave Taylor

Home Manager: Kevan Broadhurst
Home Team: Newman, Farmer (C), Eaden, Horton, Massey, McDonald, Taylor, Holloway, Zachariou, Kimber, Kelly, Roberts, Robinson, Robinson, Rogers
Home Mascot: Alexandra Farmer

Away Manager: Dean Holtham
Away Team: McGovern, Williams, O'Connor, Sewell, Sewell, Flavell, Tomlinson, Brazier, Buckle, Peaty, Fahy (C), Howe, Williams, Sewell, Smith
Away Mascot: Liam Cosgrove