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Birmingham City 2013

The 2013 Football Aid fixture at St Andrews took place on a warm Tuesday evening in early May. The match itself was lively and spirited throughout with some extremely good football being played by both the Home and Away side, as well as a high level of commitment from both defences. The final score was 2-2, which overall was a fair score line, though players from both sides will no doubt reflect on missed opportunities to be the hero and win the game for their team.

Date: Tuesday 7th May 2013
Venue: St Andrews
Birmingham City Home vs Birmingham City Away
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends: Kevan Broadhurst, Mickie Clarke, Martin O’Connor, Robert Hopkins
Match Officials: Matt Hull, Aaron Ford and Erik Van Vliet

It was the Home team who got the match underway, wearing the famous strip that gives Birmingham City FC their nickname - the blues. The opening stages of the match were a rather scrappy affair with both teams robbing each other of the ball. No one was really getting forward with any real conviction, bar a superb solo run from the Away No 9 Sam Topley, who made into the box but was unable to get a shot away.

This seemed to spark the Away team into life and they began to look much more dangerous in possession, exploiting the pace of their two centre forwards to attack the space in behind the Home team's defence. However, the back 4 were more than up to the challenge and defended very well, not allowing Aways to create any real chances.

It was not too long until the Home team began to get a strong foothold in the game and they had the first shot on target when No 8 Adam Shakespeare fired straight at the Away team GK Daniel Gould, who would go on to make numerous crucial saves throughout the match. Some more wonderful build-up play from the Home side lead to another chance for Shakespeare as he cut inside and curled a right footed shot just past the far post. 

Just as the Home team appeared to be showing their dominance, the Away side scored the first goal of the game on 17 mins when a long goal kick was flicked on to No 11 Dave Taylor, who was given the space to shoot from distance and he obliged with a screamer into the top right corner (0-1).

The Home team reacted well to going behind against the run of play and went on to dominate possession & create a plethora of chances for the rest of the half. They were perhaps a little too fired up at times as they began to fly into challenges in an attempt to starve the Away team of possession but after receiving a caution from referee Matt Hull the challenges became less reckless and more purposeful. Another chance came when Shakespeare’s cross caused havoc in the Away team’s box leaving No 11 Adam Peaty with a tap in, but Gould somehow pulled off an extraordinary save to deny him. Shakespeare then almost wrote a goal for himself into the script after his curling right footed shot beat the Goalkeeper, but it hit the post and rebounded away.

The in-form No 8 continued to pull the strings and set up team mates but after bursting forward from his RB position, Captain Sean Farmer was unable to convert from 10 yards out. Eventually, the onslaught of pressure paid off and Shakespeare's low cross again led to a chance which was eventually poked in from close range by No 10 Tony Sewell on the 38 min mark (1-1).

There was still time for another goal and it was the Home side who scored again, this time from a swift counter attack through the centre of the pitch after a well-placed through ball found Adam Peaty. The clinical Striker skilfully rounded the goalkeeper before scoring the goal which would take the Home side into the lead on 42 mins. (2-1)

The team in Blue were content to take a narrow lead in at half-time and were more subdued for the final minutes of the first half. The Away team will no doubt be unhappy with some of their defending, particularly for the 2nd goal, however the Home team certainly deserved to be ahead in the match as they had dominated for most of the half.

Half Time: Birmingham City Home 2-1 Birmingham City Away

The 2nd half started off an a very different note to how the 1st half ended with the Home team not applying nearly as much pressure as they did in the first half and the Away team really pushing for an equaliser. The pacey Sam Topley was almost in twice but was caught out by the offside trap. Then it was the Home goalkeeper, Keiron Homer’s turn to excel and whilst he did not have to pull of any magnificent saves like his opposite number, he helped out his defence when he was extremely quick off his line to come and collect a series of low crosses that were put into his box by the Away team forwards.

The game became very subdued, not down to a lack of energy from the players, but rather down to the organisation and composure of both defences. Away team substitute, Luke Griffiths looked extremely bright in midfield, displaying some good touches and making some sharp passes. During this period he whipped in a dangerous free kick from out wide, but the alert Keiron Homer was out quickly to catch it.

The 1st clearcut chance of the half came after Andrew Allen made a terrific run into the box and he thought he had scored when his low shot beat GK Gould, but Away Captain James Aplin showed an extremely high level of commitment to track all the way back and clear the ball on the line.

The Home team had regained their 1st half passing tempo, and once again looked the more likely to score. At times though, they seemed frightened to shoot when the space opened up for them and were trying to be a little too clever with their passing. On the edge of the box No 11 Aidan Peaty had the chance to line up a shot but instead tried to slide it across to a team mate but his pass was cut out – who says all centre forwards are selfish!

The Away team still looked a threat on the counter-attack, especially down the right, but too often the final ball was too close to the keeper and was easily collected. The best chances continued to come from the Home team and it looked certain that they would double their lead when Peaty’s left-footed pile driver cleared the goalkeeper, but it crashed off the bar instead.

The Away team started to deal with the Home side’s attacking play but still were not creating clear-cut chances. Gould was the hero again when the Away team’s defence was breached and he came rushing out to deny the Home team’s centre forward.

As the match entered the closing stages there was a feeling of tension around St Andrews as the Home side were still only one goal in the lead and were no longer creating chances. And sure enough, when the Away team managed to win one of their only corners of the game, a beautiful in-swinging cross was hit to the back post begging to be thumped into the back of the net, and there was Captain James Aplin to equalise in the 84th min. A wild celebration followed with both teams accepting that the goal would probably be the final one of the game. (2-2)

Shortly after there was one final half-chance for the Away team to snatch victory, but the ball over the defence was well defended by the Home team.

As the final whistle blew the word on the lips of the Home team was “robbery” but the only thing criminal about the goal was the marking at the late corner. Overall, it was a lively and exciting match with plenty of chances throughout and a draw was probably a fair reflection on the amount of effort both teams put into the game.

Full-Time: Birmingham City Home 2 - 2 Birmingham City Away

Man of the Match Home: Chris Perry
Man of the Match Away: Daniel Gould
Moment of the Match: Sam Topley

Home Team: Kieron Homer, Sean Farmer (C), Mickie Clarke, Ricky Sewell, Ben Marsh, Andrew Allen, Adam Shakespeare, Mario Zachariou, Tony Sewell, Aidan Peaty, Stephen Massey, Chris Perry, Patrick Corcoran, Lee Smith
Home Manager: Kevan Broadhurst
Home Mascot: Alexandra Farmer

Away Team: Daniel Gould, Colin Griffiths, Robert Hopkins, Stewart Fay, Stuart Starkey, Craig Denholm, Keith Howe, Sam Topley, James Aplin (C), Dave Taylor, Luke Edwards, Luke Griffiths, Sam Thorneywork, Jack Longhurst
Away Manager: Martin O’Connor
Away Mascot: Jason Aplin