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Aston Villa Game 2 2014

The 2014 Football Aid fixture at Villa Park was the 2nd match of the day and didn't disappoint those who had turned up in hope of entertainment. Some cracking performances from both teams meant the game was very evenly matched, with them only being separated at times by an outstanding solo goal in the 1st half and then a penalty in the 2nd. In the end, it was the Away team who got a deserved victory thanks to their centre half pairing at the back and attacking players up front, but the Home team were always in the game and put in a great team performance that almost saw them level the scores at the end.

Date: Wed 7th of May 2014
Venue: Villa Park
Aston Villa (Home) vs Aston Villa (Away)
Game 2
Kick off: 14:00pm
Legends: Martin Laursen and Gavin McCann
Match Officials: Dan Hayes, Bradley Hall, James Wilkinson and Mike Gardner

It was the Home team that got the game underway kicking from right to left with Villa Legend Martin Laursen amongst their ranks and it was the team in Claret and Blue who created the first real Goalscoring opportunity after 11mins. A long run by No 11 Richard Leeson saw him win a free-kick right on the edge of the box as he was tumbled to the ground before he could shoot. As it was his birthday, No 50 Simon Leeson earned the right to step up to take the set play and with a clean strike of his right boot curled it over the wall and into the top left corner (1-0).

However, the Home team were the architects of their own downfall just a min later. A poor back pass was latched onto by Away captain Ben Roberts, and the forward pulled the ball to the left of the box before curling an excellent effort into the far corner of the goal to put Villa Legend Gavin McCann's side back on level terms with just 12 mins played (1-1).

The Home side reverted to attack again and almost sneaked a 2nd via centre forward Richard Leeson. The ball went high into the air due to a deflection and Away keeper Jack Shields was ready to catch it only to be put off by striker Leeson. The No 1 slightly fumbled it and Leeson tried to prod it in but his effort bounced off the keeper and onto the himself to take it out for a goal-kick.

Both teams continued to maintain the pressure in the attacking third but the defensive structures of both teams had to be admired. The game was waiting for another goal however, and it was inevitable that it would come sooner or later. The goal had to be special to separate the sides, and it was, coming from Away No 6 Neil Baldwin. The central midfielder made a wily, solo run through several opposition players before firing a thunderous strike that flew over the keeper and into the back of the net with 43mins on the clock (1-2).

The half ended with some more top notch defending as both sides closed out their opponents thanks to centre half pairings; Mick Haynes and Richard Metcalfe - for the Home team – and Craig O Donnell with Lloyd Russell, who both kept a flat back line and put in some solid challenges meaning that both teams' strikers had endured a tough time of things. However Neil Baldwin proved that a special goal could still undo defensive solidity and separate the two well-balanced teams.

Half Time: Aston Villa (Home) 1 - 2 Aston Villa (Away)

The Away team at the break had a semi-serious chat about what they needed to do in the 1st half while also applauding and joking with goal scorer Neil Baldwin. They had realised that they were often losing the ball too easily and needed to get the ball down and play. The Home players were optimistic at the break, they talked about how the Away team had only scored because of little mistakes and if they tightened up they could limit the opportunities for their opposition.

The game re-started with an early free-kick for the Away team right on the edge of the box. After much deliberation, No 9 Edward Lovsey-Barton stepped up to take it and his high curling effort had to be well palmed round the post from keeper Eddie Bagnall. Yet again, moments later, the forward took another curling effort from the other side of the box that Bagnall had to push wide for a 2nd time.

Ten minutes later and the Away team’s pressure for a 3rd goal had paid off as they won a penalty thanks to substitute No 17 James Mifflin. The winger exchanged a one-two with centre forward Ben Roberts before entering the box ready to take a shot at goal. Mifflin was then brought down by Home No 16 Christopher Brophy from behind, which gave the referee an easy decision awarding the Away team a penalty. Mifflin stepped up and coolly slotted it low into the bottom left corner with 65mins on the clock (1-3).

Although being confident up front, the Away side had everything sorted at the back, ensuring the Home team were kept quiet. Centre half pairing Craig O'Donnell and Lloyd Russell frustrated the Home attack, giving them very few chances and maintaining the offside trap throughout.

However, they were biting their lips when Home midfielder No 10 James Leeson broke through on goal. As he broke into the box he tried to knock it past the on rushing keeper Jack Shields, only for him to be brought down by the big keeper. Fortunately for Shields and his team, referee Dan Haynes blew only for a goal kick and the chance was gone.

As the game neared its end the Home side gradually piled on the pressure, pushing their whole team forward. However, a half chance for forward Scott Whensley and a high ball that goalie Jack Shields had to punch away were their best opportunities.

At the other end the Home team were counting their lucky stars that they didn’t concede again with 5 mins to go. A long ball forward saw No 7 Brendan Maxwell through on goal but he was stopped well by the on rushing Home goalie Eddie Bagnall. The rebound off of the keeper landed perfectly at forward Edward Lovsey-Barton’s feet only for the No 9 to loft his shot too high and miss the goal when it looked like it was easier to score.

However, the Home team made their opponents pay for their wasted chance a min later when their No 10 James Leeson found the back of the net. The goal came in the 90th min after the centre mid was played in delightfully by captain Scott Whensley, Leeson's low, hard effort came back off the left post before hitting goalie Jack Shields on the back and rolling in to give the Home side some hope and some luck which they needed by this point in the match (2-3).

Despite their last ditch effort, it wasn’t to be for the Home team as the referee brought a very closely contested and well fought game to a close. The Leeson family were prominent figures in the Home side with centre mid’s Simon Leeson and James Leeson controlling large parts of the game in the middle. Supporting them was the outstanding performance by Home goalie Eddie Bagnall whose excellent performance explained why the Away side failed to score more than they did. On the winning team however, it was their centre halves O'Donnell and Russell and forwards Lovsey-Barton and Roberts that gave them the advantage in the end. The two pairings at the top and bottom of the pitch gave the Away team the advantage at full-time, but it is easy to forget that it was an all-round team performance that meant they were victors.

Full time: Aston Villa (Home) 2 - 3 Aston Villa (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Simon Leeson
Man of the Match Away: Craig O Donnell
Moment of the Match: Neil Baldwin

Home Team: Eddie Bagnall, Steven Hughes, Martin Laursen, Mick Haynes, Richard Metcalfe, Simon Leeson, Neil Geeling, Jules Leeson, Scott Whensley (C), James Leeson, Richard Leeson, Gary Nock, Martin Mcleod, Christopher Brophy, Philip Cross
Home Mascot: Oliver Cross

Away Team: Jack Shields, Steve Forbes, Gavin McCann, Craig O'Donnell, Lloyd Russell, Neil Baldwin, Brendan Maxwell, Edward Smith, Edward Lovsey-Barton, James Meider, Ben Roberts (C), Andrew Maxwell, Ricky Maxwell, Josh Baker, James Mifflin
Away Mascot: Orla O'Donnell