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Man City Game 1 2014

The 2014 Football Aid game at The Etihad was a very close game played on an extremely warm evening in the middle of May. Throughout the match there were plenty of chances for both teams, some quality team goals and also some brilliant saves that kept those watching on the edge of their seats. It was the Home team who dominated the early proceeding but once the Away side got into their flow it was difficult to stop them. In the end, the Away team took the victory, a close 4-2 that was decided thanks to a couple of outstanding team goals in the 2nd half and some brilliant saves at the back. The game was also notable for a fully committed performance at the back for both sides from Legend Colin Hendry, as expected big Braveheart took the game very seriously from the 1st min to the last! 

Date: Monday 19th of May 2014
Venue: The Etihad
Man City (Home) vs Man City (Away)
Kick off: 19:45pm
Legends: Colin Hendry
Match Officials: Gary Burke, Tom Basuik, Neil Matthews and Ken Pollard

The Away team got the game under way, wearing the Black and Gold change kit and kicking from right to left. It was their opponents though, who made those watching at the Etihad gasp 1st. The play was spread out to centre forward Asa McKenzie on the right wing, but his great low cross played straight in front of goal evaded his teammates as they slid in hoping to apply a finishing touch. 

Two mins later, the Home side kept up the pressure on their opposition’s goal and scored a brilliant team-goal. It started and ended with No 13 Martin McLeod who picked the ball up 35 yards from goal. The centre mid laid the ball off for centre forward Asa McKenzie who played it out to his strike partner Paul Safa at the edge of the box. Safa whipped a low ball into the box and the much travelled McLeod timed his run perfectly before latching onto the ball and firing home his 1st ever Football Aid goal (1-0)!

15 mins into the game and the Away side had begun to put real pressure on their opponents despite going behind. Centre forward Alessandro Dell’Orto whipped in a great cross to the un-marked winger Danny Dring. The Away captain’s downwards header just bounced wide of the far post as those standing in the box all stopped to watch the ball as if it were in slow-motion.

It was an end-to-end game soon enough as the Home team almost doubled their lead. Forward Asa McKenzie cut in from the left wing and took a low, curling shot but it was saved brilliantly by goalie Chris Dring who palmed the ball out. It fell straight to McLeod who picked his head up and fired off a low shot but his effort was blocked well by Away centre mid Richard Myers.

After 32 mins, the Home side had managed to double their lead with a sublime effort from Asa McKenzie who had been involved in most of the Home side’s attacks. The move started from the back with winger Lee Warner laying it back to full back Luke Connell. He played a brilliant 40 yard ball that fell perfectly into the path of McKenzie, through on goal. As the ball dropped over his head and bounced in front of him, McKenzie lofted a wonderful effort over the keeper to put himself up for Goal of the Season (2-0)!

But their two-goal lead was halved not long after thanks to a superb effort from striker Alessandro Dell’Orto, who combined with his forward partner Chris Jamieson. Jamieson collected the ball out of the air after a long clearance to the centre of the park before turning and getting his head up to find the run of Dell’Orto. His low pass split the defence and his strike partner Dell’Orto just got to the ball 1st, his toe-poked effort sneaking under keeper Joe Busuttil into the back of the net (2-1).

There was some controversy just a couple of mins later as the Away side conceded a close-range indirect free-kick. The ball was played back to keeper Chris Dring who unfortunately believed that it was simply a tackle made by Legend Colin Hendry and so the keeper picked the ball up. But Dring’s luck changed, thanks to his post saving him after Martin McLeod laid it across for Lee Warner, whose left footed effort curled against the upright and bounced away.

Straight down the other end and it was the Home defence who were on full alert as the Away side gained three corners in a row. The 2nd of which almost produced an equaliser for them with centre mid Rob Marr’s powerful header expertly tipped over by keeper Joe Busuttil. Again they came close two mins later as centre forward Dell’Orto saw the run of winger Daniel Hugo at the back post but the No 8’s sliding effort was just too late as the ball passed by him and out of play.

The half ended with the Home side having obtained a slight advantage in a very close match. The Home defence were well organised, led by centre half’s Steve Connell, Luke Connell and of course Legend Colin Hendry who combined well to deny the Away team on several occasions and they also had cause to thank goalkeeper Busuttil who made some cracking saves as well. But, the Away team also knew how to defend and were unlucky to be behind, having created several chances in attack.  

Half Time: Man City (Home) 2 - 1 Man City (Away)

In the Home dressing room at the break the players discussed how they needed to get the ball down and play more on the deck, because they had too often resorted to playing the long ball in the 1st half. They also discussed how to make more of the pace their attackers possessed and exploit the perceived advantage they had in that area over the Away team.

However with Legend Colin Hendry swapping sides to the Away team the Home side weren't able to break their defensive resolve and 62 mins in the Away team had found an equaliser through centre forward Alessandro Dell’Orto. A long ball was played through the Home defence and as it bounced up, Dell’Orto managed to show great striker's instincts to flick a perfect header over the keeper and level the scores (2-2).

The Away team were at it again less than 10 mins later, taking the lead after some brilliant build-up play courtesy of some quick, one-touch passes. Centre mid Richard Myers collected the ball in the centre of the park and played it into his midfield partner Rob Marr, the No 10 then flicked it to centre forward Dell’Orto who was adjacent to him. Dell’Orto played it in 1st time to winger Danny Dring who brilliantly controlled the ball before poking it into the bottom right corner with 71 mins gone (2-3).

As time progressed, the game slowed somewhat in the balmy evening conditions with both sides comfortable to just bide their time until the perfect opportunity arrived. Since the break the Away defence had maintained a solid line of defence that left the Home attack with no room for creativity and their solidity was almost rewarded on several occasions up the other end with Chris Jamieson’s shot just flashing wide and and winger Daniel Hugo’s shot being saved well by keeper Busuttil.

This solidity was almost broken, however, when the Home team got a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Winger and captain Lee Warner whipped a Kolorov style out-swinger that bounced all the way through to Joshua Dalley at the back post. The No 16 turned on a sixpence before firing a low shot, but his effort was saved well by Dring at his near post.

Just a minute later and it was déjà vu for the Home players, as they received another free-kick out on the left. Again, it was Warner who whipped it in, a spectacular ball to the far post and connecting perfectly with the ball was right winger Steven Westhead. The No 7’s half-volley, though, was saved majestically by Chris Dring whose excellent display of goalkeeping was keeping his side in the lead.

Throughout the 2nd half the Away team had played with style but never more so than when they scored their 4th and final goal in the dying seconds of the game. Centre forward Alessandro Dell’Orto played a stunning cross-field ball straight to winger Alberto Gagliardi, creating a 2 v 2 situation. The No 17 ran beyond his marker before cutting it back to the open Chris Jamieson at the penalty spot and the centre forward made no mistake, tucking it home 1st time with 89 mins on the clock (2-4).

This was to be the last chance of the match and the ref blew for full time soon after, with the Away team taking the victory from a hotly contested match. Throughout the game, both teams had been bossed by their opposition’s defences and goalkeepers. At times, Busuttil and Dring were called upon to make outstanding saves to help their team but the centre half’s, particularly Kristien Harrison, Terry Rickeard and Simon Cornelio in the 2nd half made it difficult for the Home team to even get a shot at goal. The game was always going to be decided by a quality goal and it was the Away team who were able to deliver the sucker-punch at 3-2 after brilliant team play and a fine finish from Danny Dring. But it wasn’t all about the Away team as the Home side were dominant in the 1st half but were just unfortunate in the 2nd not to score.

Full time: Man City (Home) 2-4 Man City (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Luke Connell
Man of the Match Away: Simon Cornelio
Moment of the Match: Asa McKenzie

Home Team: Joe Busuttil, David Bryan, Colin Hendry (1st Half), Steve Connell, Luke Connell, Martin Mcleod, Steven Westhead, Lee Warner (C), Asa McKenzie, Francesco Turi, Paul Safa, Max Middleton, Joshua Dalley
Home Mascot: Cameron McKenzie

Away Team: Chris Dring, Kieran Brooks, Colin Hendry (2nd Half), Kristien Harrison, Terry Rickeard, Richard Myers, Danny Dring (C), Daniel Hugo, Alessandro Dell'Orto, Rob Marr, Chris Jamieson, Simon Cornelio, Marco Cresta, Alberto Gagliardi