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Sheffield United 2014

The 2014 Football Aid fixture at Bramall Lane was a hugely entertaining game of football that ultimately ended 6-3 in favour of the Home team; however, on paper, it was a different story to the reality of the match. After half-time, although two down, the Away side came out rejuvenated by their manager Tony Currie’s wise words and although trying their hardest the Away attack couldn’t quite break down goalkeeper Nathan Taylor and his Home defence. This takes nothing away from the outstanding team performance from the Home side though, which saw No 9 Steven Foreman bag 4 goals and an assist in an impressive performance.

Date: Friday 9th of May 2014
Venue: Bramall Lane
Sheffield United (Home) vs Sheffield United (Away)
Kick off: 19:00 pm
Legends: Georges Santos, Alan Quinn, Tony Currie and Mark Todd
Match Officials: Adrian Holmes, Kevin McKitterick, Adam Swinney and Robin Raymond

It was the Home team who took the kick-off, wearing the famous red and white striped shirts of the Blades. Unfortunately, the game was slow going, with little in terms of shots on goal. However, after 10 mins it was the Away team who got the first opportunity of the game and No 6 Adrian Landers must have thought he’d scored. The industrious centre mid collected the ball to the right of the goal, going past the sprawling Home goalie Nathan Taylor but his chipped effort was well saved by Taylor on the ground as the Home team scrambled it away.

Despite the fact there had been few chances; the Home side only needed one to take the lead after 20 mins. A corner that was whipped in well was attacked by Away captain Stuart Green but it flew just over his head and lurking behind him was Home No 9 Steven Foreman to take his turn. Foreman’s bullet header went whizzing past everyone into the bottom left corner of the goal (1-0).

It didn’t take long for the Home team to get into their rhythm and 2 mins later they had doubled their lead. The build-up play was more team-orientated for this one after a one-two between full back Davide Pizzocro and winger Rich Hawke saw the No 2 play in Steven Foreman. The No 9, although surrounded by defenders, looked up and guided the ball perfectly into the far corner to get his brace with just over a quarter of the game gone (2-0).

Just 4 mins later and the Home side had another goal. A beautifully chipped through ball from No 10 Paul Willcocks passed over the heads of the Away defenders. The ball fell perfectly into the run of fellow centre mid Michael Kemp whose side-footed effort found the far corner of the goal, putting his team three ahead after 27 mins (3-0).

Although being technically gifted up front, the Home side also had a mean defence that was repelling the best attacking efforts of the Away side. First, after a cross into centre forward Lee Patrick, it was goalie Nathan Taylor who kept the ball out. Then, the rebound that fell to winger Ben Etches was blocked, with the Home defence putting their bodies on the line to keep a clean sheet.

Credit to their sustained pressure though, and the Away side eventually got a goal back through No 7 Ben Etches after 41mins. The winger only got this opportunity because of the excellent football brain and experienced reading of the game that legend Mark Todd has at his disposal. A quick free-kick caught everyone by surprise, Todd’s effort having to be parried by goalie Nathan Taylor; however, it fell straight to Etches who pounced on it and tucked it away expertly into the back of the net (3-1).

The first half came to an end not long after the Away side’s breakthrough of their opposition’s defence. Although they had finally conceded a goal the Home side’s defence had nothing to be disappointed about, as they held strong for so long and made the art of defending look easy. Up front, meanwhile, centre forward Steven Foreman got his part of the job done well, achieving a brace within mins and this was added to by a quality finish from Michael Kemp.

Half Time: Sheffield United (Home) 3 - 1 Sheffield United (Away)

At half-time player-manager Georges Santos reminded the Home players that all they had to do was play the ball simple along the ground and they would easily win the game. However after the game had been re-started, it wasn’t long before the Away side had almost pulled another goal back. Italian substitute Michele Cammarere got straight into the action with a low, driven shot at the near post that keeper Nathan Taylor had to stop expertly with his right foot.

The Away team continued to press, trying to find another goal to bring them back into the game. The most notable chance came for No 10 Nick Medlicott when he broke through on goal. After seeing goalie Nathan Taylor advancing, Medlicott attempted to chip the keeper but his effort landed on the netting above the goal.

It wasn’t long before Home keeper Taylor was called into action again. A chipped through ball to centre forward Lee Patrick was followed up by a lofted effort from the No 11. The ball was travelling in only for Taylor to back-track his steps and palm it over the bar and out for a corner.

A minute later and again, the Away side were showing their efforts to get back into the game were not going to falter. After keeper Taylor got stranded at the edge of the box, Away forward Patrick thought he had a clean shot at goal: only for his shot to be miraculously stopped by retreating full back Davide Pizzocro.

The game slowed a bit as the Home team began to control the play again and they were able to demonstrate their attacking prowess again with 82 mins on the clock. Substitute Giulio Alberti was played in down the left side and the winger squared the ball back to hat-trick hopeful Steven Foreman. After taking a touch, the No 9 realised that the goalmouth was too full for him to take a shot so, selflessly, played it back to Alberti who snuck it in at the near post (4-1).

With just 6 mins to play, Steven Foreman got the hat-trick his excellent all round play deserved. Foreman picked off a pass on the edge of the box before taking it onto his left foot; however, with a flick of his right boot, he cheekily dinked a shot over keeper Rawlins and into the back of the net (5-1).

From kick-off it seemed like the Home side weren’t finished at five. A long ball was played down the left to goalscorer Giulio Alberti. Returning the favour, the winger played the ball across to sneaky forward Steven Foreman who tucked it into an open net to make it four for him on the day and six for his side with 87 mins gone (6-1).

The entertainment wasn't finished yet though and a late consolation goal was scored with 90mins approaching as the Home defence were also understandably showing signs of fatigue. However, even with their energy levels full they probably wouldn't have been able to do anything about the cut back pass from No 11 Lee Patrick that found an un-marked Adrian Landers on the edge of the 6 yard box. The centre mid had no trouble in pocketing the ball home to give his side a late goal to make up for all their efforts earlier in the half (6-2).

The Away side went straight up the pitch looking for another consolation goal before full-time and because of this pressure they won a penalty, courtesy of forward Lee Patrick. Patrick was brought down on the edge of the box from a hard tackle committed by Emanuele Bozano. Patrick could finally got the goal his performance deserved and he stepped up coolly to fire his spot kick into the bottom right corner of the goal (6-3).

This was to be the end of a very exciting final 10mins of play that saw the goal tally go from 4 goals to 9 in all! Without knowing the score at half-time, and with their 2nd half performance to go on alone, a spectator may have thought that the Away side were on top with all the confidence they exuded after the break. However, it was not to be, as they failed to put away their chances and were cruelly taught a lesson in finishing by Steven Foreman and co. despite their efforts to stop them. Throughout the majority of the game the Home team’s defence stayed strong and they only faltered slightly when their energy levels flagged, but it was the excellent overall efforts of the team in red and white that earned their deserved win in the end.

Full Time: Sheffield United (Home) 6 - 3 Sheffield United (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Steve Foreman
Man of the Match Away: Lee Patrick
Moment of the Match: Nathan Taylor

Home Team: Nathan Taylor, Davide Pizzocro, Alan Quinn, Kit Walker, Jamie Simpson, Michael Kemp, Rich Hawke, Matteo Cicala, Steven Foreman, Paul Willcocks (C), Jamie Reid, Andrew Wilks, Emanuele Bozano, Giulio Alberti
Home Manager: Georges Santos
Home Mascot: Isla Willcocks

Away Team: Andy Rawlins, Billy Eckersley, Mark Todd, Ricky Blades, Stuart Green (C), Adrian Landers, Ben Etches, Davide Guastavino, Craig Mellon, Nick Medlicott, Lee Patrick, Seamus Bolger, Michele Cammarere
Away Manager: Tony Currie
Away Mascot: Jack Mellon