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Aston Villa Game 1 2014

The 2014 Football Aid fixture at Villa Park was a hotly contested game with quality play at both ends of the pitch. The game started slowly but once it was in full flow, the goals came flying in. By half time the Away team were 5-1 up thanks to some quality finishing by hat-trick hero Matthew Botley and rock solid defensive work at the back. The Home team got themselves the couple of goals in the 2nd half their play deserved, however on the day they didn't quite have enough to go on and complete an unlikely comeback. The Villa fans watching on certainly got their money's worth though with 10 goals and plenty of action beside!

Date: Wed 7th of May 2014
Venue: Villa Park
Aston Villa (Home) vs Aston Villa (Away)
Game 1
Kick off: 10:00am
Legends: Bryan Small and Mark Burke
Match Officials: Julian Hitchcock, Stuart Haden, Gary Dolphin and Rob Holt

The Away team got the game underway kicking from left to right in their White and Claret chequered strips. Unfortunately, the game was slow to get started but with 18 mins played the Home side had the breakthrough. Out on the right wing with plenty of space, No 7 Jason Godfrey whipped in a perfect ball straight onto the chest of centre forward Steven Foreman. With a beautiful control, Foreman turned and volleyed the ball into the back of the net (1-0).

It wasn’t long however before the Away side were back in the game courtesy of a wonderfully finished effort by No 8 Matthew Botley. The captain was played in cleverly at the edge of the box and he carried the ball quickly through the two central defenders before finishing masterfully with a cheeky flick over sprawling goalie Adam Joyce (1-1).

Straight from kick-off the Away team stunned the Home side with another goal to take the lead after 22 mins. Down the right side a long ball was played up by Paul Evans to striker Michael Rowley. The forward drew the goalie out of his goal before taking the ball round him and slotting it into an empty net, a cool finish to take the lead (1-2).

The Away team had found their rhythm by this point and were playing some lovely football in midfield and their play created another chance just 5 mins later. A half dozen short and intricate passes down the left side between Legend Mark Burke, forward Steven Diggory and central midfielder Gary Jones took several of the Home players out of the game. This passage of play ended in a lovely pass into winger Matthew Botley whose low shot was too difficult to keep out and nestled in the bottom corner (1-3).

Just a few mins later, the Away captain Matthew Botley found another gap in the defence and he was through on goal. A long through ball fell exactly at his feet and the No 8 let the ball roll before taking a shot on goal to get his hat-trick, however he dragged his shot wide of the left post and out of play for a goal-kick. 

It wasn’t long, however, before the star player of the 1st half had got his hat-trick, finishing coolly from the left side of the box. A long ball down the wing from Legend Mark Burke found the central midfielder making a run towards goal. Matthew Botley took the ball in his stride, skipping past one defender before slotting it under the keeper into the far corner with 38 mins played (1-4).

On the stroke of half-time the Away side stretched out their lead even more to put the tie beyond contention. Waiting on the shoulder of the last defender and keeping onside cleverly, the centre forward Michael Rowley was released through on goal. He faked to shoot before stroking the ball past the sprawling keeper and into the empty net (1-5).

The half came to an end with the Away side definitely in charge of the fixture. The Father and Son defensive partnership of Robert and Dean Thorpe were rock solid for the 45 mins, coupled with some excellent performances up-front from No 8 Matthew Botley and Michael Rowley, meant the Away team were very much in control. The Home team, although taking the lead, had it all to do in the 2nd half and needed the break to re-group and think of a strategy so as to attempt a comeback.

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

The 2nd half started with continued pressure being put on the Home back line. The Away team were creating chances and it looked like it would be a matter of time before they scored again. 1st Matthew Botley hit the post and then centre forward Steven Diggory was denied by the Home goalie Adam Joyce when he was through on goal, but it didn't take long for them to score again.

And with just over an hour of football played the Away team scored another goal to add to their tally. No 11 Steven Diggory picked it up on the right side of the box and he unselfishly squared it to his centre forward partner Michael Rowley. However the No 9’s effort was masterfully palmed away by keeper Adam Joyce: only for it to fall again to Diggory, who smashed it comfortably into the back of the net (1-6).

The next few mins were unexpected though, as the Home team scored a quick brace courtesy of Steven Hawkins and captain Ian Hunter. The first goal was a contender for goal of the game; as Hawkins' corner was whipped in, it snuck in the near post leaving goalie Gary Thomas bemused as to how it beat him to find the net (2-6).

The 2nd goal followed seconds later thanks to a long, route-one ball that was beautifully followed up with a through ball by No 9 Steven Foreman to winger Steven Bettson. The centre forward’s pass was incredibly precise, finding Bettson’s run perfectly and the winger finished confidently into the far corner (3-6).

Furthermore, the Home team now had the impetus to try to push on and get another goal or two to bring the game back within their grasp. A cracking floated ball into the box by legend Bryan Small was attacked with a ferocious header from winger Michail Retsinas. However, goalie Gary Thomas got his whole body behind the ball to keep it out. 

Although the Home team had been in the ascendancy, the Away side created a marvellous chance for themselves. A terrific long ball down the wing that caught out the Home side’s high line released forward Steven Diggory one-on-one with the goalie. The Home team had Adam Joyce to thank for making a great save to keep the ball out though, the No 1 getting down low to his right quickly.

With only mins to play before the end of the game, the Away side scored yet again with what was a stone-wall penalty. The Away No 10 Gary Jones broke into the box and knocked the ball past Home centre half Joe Weale. Jones was then completely blocked by the defender and the ref had little choice but to award a spot-kick for the Away team. Up stepped winger Stefan Beale who placed it well high into the top right corner of the goal (3-7).

The game ended just a couple of mins later with the Away side running away comfortable victors on the day. Unfortunately for the Home side, the game was decided in the first half with a 4 goal lead created by their opposition to give the team in White and Claret a large advantage heading into the 2nd half of play. However, instead of giving up and accepting defeat, the fresh legs of No 17 Michail Retsinas and centre mid Craig Davies gave the Home team a new lease of life which saw them get a draw in the 2nd half with both teams scoring twice. Overall, there were some very fine performances in both teams, particularly by the Away team's attackers in the first half whose deadliness in front of goal ultimately decided the tie. The Villa fans watching on cheered both teams off at the final whistle, giving them the ovation their excellent efforts deserved. 

Full Time: Aston Villa (Home) 3 - 7 Aston Villa (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Adam Joyce
Man of the Match Away: Matthew Botley
Moment of the Match: Steven Foreman

Home Team: Adam Joyce, Ryan Horobin, Bryan Small, Joe Weale, Ashley Phipps, Mark Horobin, Jason Godfrey, Steven Bettson, Steven Foreman, Steven Howkins, Ian Hunter (C), Craig Davies, Roy Waldron, Michael McCormack, Michail Retsinas
Home Mascot: Alex Foreman

Away Team: Gary Thomas, Paul Evans, Mark Burke, Dean Thorpe, Robert Thorpe, Roger Dale, Stefan Beale, Matthew Botley (C), Michael Rowley, Gary Jones, Steven Diggory, Stephen Cullen, Andy Botley
Away Mascot: Jack Rowley