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Birmingham City 2014

The Football Aid fixture at St Andrews was a hotly contested game of football that saw plenty of goals, yet despite this, it could even have seen more. The match was narrowly won at the death by the Away side’s captain Jim Roberts and this was a fitting end to such a close game. End-to-end football was on display throughout, delighting all the Blues fans who had turned up to watch and if it hadn’t been for the prowess of both teams' goalkeepers and defences, the score-line could even have reached double figures, such was the amount of chances created.

Date: Thursday 8th May 2014
Venue: St Andrews
Birmingham City (Home) vs Birmingham City (Away)
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends: Geoff Horsfield, Robert Hopkins, Dele Adebola, Nicky Eaden
Match Officials: Tom Bowkett, Simon Piaia, Jason Porter and Craig Thompson

The game got underway with the Away team kicking off wearing the luminous yellow BCFC kit on a perfect day for football. It didn’t take long for the game to get its first chance and it almost produced a goal for the Home team. A sweeping ball across the box from the left wing was helped on by No 7 Andrew Allen to centre forward Lee Smith who was just inside the box. Smith cut inside before taking a curling effort that crashed against the far post and rebounded away to safety for the Away team.

The play went straight up the other end and when the chance fell to the Away team their No 8 Wayne Davis wasn’t going to waste his chance as he broke through one-on-one. A long, route-one ball from legend Nicky Eaden caught out the Home defence and the winger was through on Home keeper Joseph Poole. Davis took one touch before carefully placing the ball into the far corner of the net: it was a fine finish and with just 12 mins on the clock the side in Yellow were in front (0-1).

After the goal, the Away team had gathered some momentum and were pushing for a 2nd to double their advantage. Central midfielder Daniel Pierce played in forward Dave Taylor down the right side of the box. Instead of shooting, the selfless No 11 squared the ball to team-mate Scott Jordan. However, under pressure from the Home goalie and with a fast-paced pass to control, the No 10 couldn’t quite find the net though, with his shot passing just wide of the post.

It was the Away side who maintained the attacking pressure on their opponents with another goal after 25 mins. The ball was only just kept in down the right side by full back Anthony Beard who then played a long ball to winger and opening goal-scorer Wayne Davis. The No 8 attempted to slide in forward Dave Taylor; however, his pass was cut off by centre half Tony Sewell. Fortunately for the Away team, Taylor pinched the ball off of the opposing No 5 as he slipped. Then from the right hand side of the box the deadly centre forward proceeded to chip the keeper with a sublime effort that looped into the air and into the back of the net (0-2).

Although the Away team had the upper-hand in attack, their defence were holding the fort at the back, keeping out their opposition well and when Home winger Andrew Allen was played in his effort was well saved by goalie Allan Todd. The high rebound of the ball then had to be headed away, under pressure, by full back Anthony Beard, then the ball was again cleared for a corner as the Home team were left frustrated.

The Home team were questioning whether the gods were going to let them score mins later as they came within 6 inches of scoring again. Centre forward Lee Smith picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and he turned to see there were no defenders in his way. The No 11 decided to take a pot shot that caught out goalie Allan Todd as it travelled low and fast before hitting the edge of the left post and going out for a goal kick.

As the game progressed it was turning into an end-to-end match full of chances and the Away team were next to put the pressure on. Centre mid Daniel Price snatched the ball off legend Geoff Horsfield before embarking on a mazy run through the Home defence that saw him squeeze a shot away. His effort was outstanding considering the pressure put on him; however his high shot was excellently palmed away by stubborn goalie Joseph Poole.

It wasn’t long however, before the Home team’s persistence gave them something to show for their efforts. With 40mins gone their No 11 Lee Smith picked up the ball on the right side of the box, teasing his opposite number left and right before squaring it across to centre mid Richard Flanagan. The midfielder took one touch at the edge of the box before hitting a high, looping effort that crashed into the back of the net (1-2).

After all the hard work done by Away centre half pairing Jim Roberts and James Jeavons they were undone again within a min of the first! The Home no 5 Tony Sewell wandered his way up the park before exchanging a clever one-two with winger Neil Wall. When he received it back Sewell played a lovely through ball into forward Mario Zachariou’s path and the No 9 smashed his shot into the roof of the net almost tearing it off in the process (2-2)!

And just before the break the Home team could have taken the lead through centre forward Lee Smith. The No 11 timed his run well, entering the box unmarked, however his low shot was well saved by Away keeper Allan Todd.

The referee brought the half to an end and the players certainly needed the 15 mins rest. It was a fantastic 45 mins of football with chances galore at both ends. After the Away side took a two-goal lead it was only the solidity of the Home centre half pairing Ricky Sewell and Tony Sewell, and keeper Joseph Poole that prevented the team in Blue from conceding several more. In contrast, the Away defence of Jim Roberts and James Jeayons started the game out coolly as they dealt with anything the Home attack created well, however as the half drew to a close they struggled slightly because of tiredness and that allowed the Away team back into the game and with the scores tied at 2-2 there was everything to play for in the 2nd half.

Birmingham City (Home) 2 - 2 Birmingham City (Away)

In the Away dressing room the players got some words of wisdom from legend Nicky Eaden. He told them that they needed to tighten up at the back and that the midfielders needed to cover their defenders as they were beginning to be exposed on the counter.

The Home team got the game back underway and it was the Blues who had the first chance of the half. A low ball into the box from centre forward Lee Smith forced goalkeeper Allan Todd to get down and parry it and fortunately for the Away team, legend Dele Adebola was there to clean up.

After some good pressure from the Home team it was their turn to defend and they were thanking their goalie Joseph Poole. Centre forward Dave Taylor won the ball at the corner flag on the right wing before whipping in a cross perfectly to partner Matthew Leak. However the No 9’s effort was somehow saved miraculously at the near post by Poole, the keeper pushing it round the post and out for a corner.

Seeing how well Poole was playing, the Away goalie wanted a piece of the limelight with his own outrageous save at the near post. Forward Mario Zachariou managed to squeeze in a pass from the right edge of the box to winger Andrew Allen. The No 7 seemed sure to score yet his near post shot was tipped brilliantly onto the post by keeper Allan Todd and away to safety.

With 20 mins gone in the second half the crowd must have been wondering when a goal was going to arrive. Another opportunity for the Away side as the No 7 Daniel Keay was played in by substitute Terry Rickeard but the wingers shot was, again, saved by keeper Joseph Poole.

Yet again, another chance fell for the Away team and the Home team counted their lucky stars as centre forward Matthew Leak’s header just passed wide of the far post. A fast, whipped ball from the left by legend Dele Adebola was at a perfect height for the No 9 but he watched in despair as his header went whizzing out of play for a goal kick as if in slow motion.

Football is a cruel game, and the Away side were punished for not taking their chances. A quick run with the ball by the substitute James Whitworth produced a low ball across the box to the waiting centre forward Lee Smith. Finally, the forward had his goal after his shot went in off the far post to put the Home side ahead after 69 mins of play (3-2).

The Away side were pushing all their men forward and were trying anything to get back into the game. A rushed goal kick from keeper Joseph Poole fell straight to Home No 7 Andrew Allen. The winger controlled the ball on his chest and from about 40 yards out took a powerful, dipping volley that just fell to the right of the goal.

Less than ten mins remained and the game was heating up as the Away team drew level through forward Dave Taylor. The No 11 picked up the ball from No 17 Terry Rickeard, he then took it past a man before releasing a low, driven shot. Much to the despair of outstanding goalie Joseph Poole the effort took a big deflection on its way and gave the No 1 no chance of saving it. With 84mins on the clock the game was all square again (3-3).

And with just 4 mins to go the Away side had the lead in a game where guessing the score was next to impossible! The ball was cut back to centre forward No 9 Matthew Leak, who took a curling shot from inside the box that was punched by goalie Joseph Poole. Unfortunately the ball fell kindly to centre half Jim Roberts who had made the journey up the pitch to score the winning goal for his team (3-4).

It seemed like an eternity for the Away team before the game ended, but finally, they left the pitch victors of what was a very close and entertaining match. Some outstanding stops throughout from both goalies, Joseph Poole and Allan Todd kept the scores down. The attackers ended the match frustrated by the lack of goals considering the chances that were created and the amount of times the woodwork stopped them. However, in the end, it was the persistence of the Away side that saw them achieve the win in a game which was definitely a contender for the best game of Football Aid 2014 considering the fantastic entertainment on show!

Full Time: Birmingham City (Home) 3 - 4 Birmingham City (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Richard Flanagan
Man of the Match Away: Jim Roberts
Moment of the Match: Lee Smith

Home Team: Joseph Poole, Sean Farmer, Geoff Horsfield, Robert Hopkins, Ricky Sewell, Tony Sewell, Richard Flanagan, Andrew Allen, Neil Wall (C), Mario Zachariou, George McGovern, Lee Smith, James Whitworth, Tony Sewell (No.5), David Carver, Neil Wall (No.8)
Home Mascot: Lily Wall

Away Team: Allan Todd, Anthony Beard, Dele Adebola, Nicky Eaden, Jim Roberts (C), James Jeavons, Daniel Price, Daniel Keay, Wayne Davis, Matthew Leak, Scott Jordan, Dave Taylor, Robert Green, David King, Stuart Ellis, Terry Rickeard
Away Mascot: Jayden Lawry Beard