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Birmingham City 2006

Football Aid Championship, Monday 8th May, St Andrews Stadium

Birmingham (Home) 2 Birmingham (Away) 1

An entire morning of relentless downpour made for a soaked and heavy St Andrews pitch but did little to dampen Birmingham’s Home’s thrilling victory over Ian Clarkson’s Away squad in the Birmingham City leg of the Football Aid Championships.

The opening minutes of the game saw the Away team quicker off the mark and some early pressure led to a corner. The ball was whipped in from the right and flicked on towards goal but keeper Ball saved well.

20 minutes in and Away were still on the attack. A break down the right forced an uncharacteristic error from Home legend Blake and allowed the Away team in behind. From the corner, midfielder Barlow worked the ball into the back of net to hand Away the lead.

Home were quick to form a counterattack of their own and pressure on the Away box resulted in a shooting opportunity for Alex MacPherson from 20 yards but it sailed just over.

Determined to equalise, Home continued to sweep forward. A strike from in front of goal by Simon Masters was deflected off keeper Meads but Away defender Ellis could only look on in horror as the ball hit off his chest and into goal. The score 1-1 just before half time.

Rejuvenated by substitutions, the Home team applied the earliest pressure in the second half. A seemingly goal-bound effort from Sam Marsh was acrobatically handed on line from Away’s midfielder Barlow to deny a goal. However the score remained unchanged as the resulting penalty was struck wide by an over eager Marsh.

Taking control of the match, the Home team rained sweeping attack after attack on Away’s defence. MacPherson enjoyed an excellent chance in front of goal but the ever-vigilant Meads did well to block the shot. Legend Clarkson efficiently cleared the ball to help Away surge forward on a break and Barlow did well to control the resulting long ball but his half volley flew just over the post.

Home’s constant pressure was finally rewarded in the 82nd minute. MacPherson spread play to the right wing where the first-time cross was met perfectly by Heath, whose diving header sailed into the left side of goal.

Despite a last ditch attempt by the hard working Barker, Home gratefully held onto their lead with the final score 2-1.

As Steve Smith commented after the match, “A great afternoon was had by all. I especially want to thank our "pro" Ian Clarkson who made us all feel at ease. Fantastic memories to cherish. Thanks, from a still aching 41 year old!"