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Birmingham City 2008

This year's Birmingham City event had an extra special atmosphere; with the Home team's Paul Swatkins celebrating his 40th in style by leading out a Home team of family and friends at his beloved St Andrews. Unfortunately the Away team hadn't read the script and it was to be their side who would be celebrating at the final whistle.

Thursday 15th May
Birmingham City Home vs Birmingham City Away
St Andrews
KO: 1:00 pm
Match Officials:Phil Taylor, Richard Patterson & Matt Giblin

Legends & Managers:
Home - Kevan Broadhurst (Manager) and Tommy Mooney (Playing Legend)
Away - Ian Atkins (Manager) and (Playing Legend) Ian Clarkson

The match kicked off in overcast conditions on a St Andrews pitch still in excellent condition despite the long Premier League season. The Home side were first to show their attacking intent with Centre Back Harrison unlucky not to get on the end of a freekick swung into the box from the right.

However the first real Away attack was to result in an early lead for the side in red. A clever short corner was played quickly by Richard Vale to Away legend Ian Clarkson, whose resulting high, curling cross cum shot floated over the keeper's outstretched arms to go in just under the bar and put the Away team one up.

The Home team were desperate to get back into the match and were unlucky not to equalise on 12 mins, Nick Revell rose well to get a downward header on target but Away keeper Phil Brown did well to clear with his feet, with birthday boy Paul Swatkins unlucky not to get on the end of the rebound.

The action continued at the other end with skilful play down the left wing from Mick Flaherty, however on this occasion he was unfortunate not to find his striker with his clever cutback. Back came the Home team and Brunt swung a great ball into the box, but no-one could take advantage.

Then Mario Zachariou was to show the striking prowess he possessed that was to come back to haunt the Home team. Put through on goal by Flaherty, he rounded the keeper but was forced wide and couldn't keep his attempt under the bar.

Home goalkeeper Ian Charnock was next to shine, first doing well to punch a floated freekick from David Parker over the bar, then holding a well struck effort from Richard Vale, low to his right. The first controversial refereeing decision was to follow shortly after, Away Captain Jimmy Walker played the ball forward to Darren Whitehouse who did well to win the ball in the air and find his striking partner with a head-flick. Zachariou raced into the box, rounded the keeper and finished well with the outside of his left foot only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

Shortly after the Home team were able to grab an equaliser, sub Roy Woolley was set free on the left and he composed himself well before side-footing the ball to the Home No 3 "Skip", who despatched the ball low into the far corner leaving the keeper no chance.

However their joy was to be short lived as the Away team responded swiftly, with Zachariou showing great skill to control with his chest, turn and fire a right footed shot past the keeper's despairing dive into the far corner to make it 2-1 to his Away side. And he was to double his tally shortly afterwards, Flaherty gained possession near the left hand sideline, skilfully beat his man and squared the ball expertly to Zachariou, who made no mistake from close range with a powerful low shot to increase the Away team's lead to 3-1.

At this stage the Home team were far from out of it, with central midfielder Stuart Douglas instrumental in keeping them in the match. But despite two good efforts from their striker Nick Revell, first with his head, then with a well struck volley, they were to remain two goals behind as the half-time whistle was blown.

Half Time: Birmingham City Home 1 - 3 Birmingham City Away

It was to be the Away team who were to make the better start to the 2nd half with a fantastic team goal increasing their lead. The ball was played clear from defence to No 9 Darren Whitehouse who played a well worked one-two with Zachariou before playing in half-time sub Andrew Allen who had made a lung bursting run from inside his own half. Allen powered through the defence before scoring with a first time effort high past the on-rushing keeper to make it 4-1 to the Away team.

The Away team continued to threaten and Allen was unlucky not to get a second minutes later, when he shot over after getting on the end of a free-kick played into the box. At the other end Brown did well to hang on to a well struck shot from the ever influential Douglas and Jonathan Brunt was perhaps a little unlucky not to get a goal back after a good run and shot from wide on the right. Next up to try his luck for the Home team was Revell who latched onto a long clearance from his goalkeeper, but his volleyed effort went agonisingly wide.

The pace of the game was beginning to tell and there were signs of a few heavy legs at this stage and it was to be the Away team who were to take advantage of the extra space this tiredness created. The ball was played through for Zachariou to chase and he did well to latch onto it and power into the box, only to be upended by the Home keeper Ian Charnock's despairing dive. What followed had to be seen to be believed, Zachariou stepped up to take the penalty only to get his foot caught in the turf and barely make contact with the ball before the Home team cleared the ball to safety. Despite lengthy protests from the Home team the referee controversially whistled for it to be retaken. Zachariou stepped up again only to see keeper Charnock make a great save, however the striker was not be thwarted a 2nd time and he slammed home the rebound for his hat-trick, making the score 5-1 to his rampant Away team.

The Home team were still showing great reserves of will and were throwing men forward in an attempt to grab an elusive 2nd goal. A shot from stand-in Captain Douglas was fired just over the bar, then Caius Kane was unlucky with a chipped effort over which went just over. The Away keeper Phil Brown was impressing though and he made a sharp save low to his left from a curled freekick effort.

However the Away team made it 6 soon afterwards, a long ball forward from Allen fell to Whitehouse after Mark Swatkins' attempted clearance couldn't prevent the through ball and the Away No 9 sprinted in on goal and finished with a clever chip over the keeper. The Away team were unlucky not to increase their lead shortly afterwards when Philip Thorpe's cross cum shot drifted wide after he did well to beat his man on the left side of the box.

Back came the Home team and Jonathan Brunt showed great determination and skill down the left before finding his No 3 on the edge of the box, however his attempted chip was touched over by Brown. With time running out legend Ian Clarkson was to show a couple of glimpses of real class, first he pounced on a through ball after a slight mix-up in the home defence, but his effort from wide on the right hit the upright and somehow stayed out. However he was not to be denied, mere seconds later Allen won the ball well in the middle of the park for Clarkson, who carried the ball forward before slotting expertly home to make it 7-1.

Clarkson's goal was to be the last of the day, the final score perhaps being an unfair reflection on what had been a well contested match with plenty of chances at both ends. All that was left was for the Home team to go and drown their sorrows and celebrate Captain Paul Swatkins' birthday in style!

Full Time: Birmingham City Home 1 - 7 Birmingham City Away

Man of the Match (Home): Stuart Douglas

Man of the Match (Away): Mario Zachariou

Moment of the Match: Ian Charnock

Home Team: I. Charnock, J. Brunt, TBC (Legend), M. Swatkins, E. Harrison, S. Douglas, R. Pearson, J. Jew, P. Swatkins (Captain), C. Kane, N. Revell, S. Harper, J. Brunt (No.2), M. Hudson and R. Woolley

Mascot: Stephanie and Sophie Swatkins

Away Team: P. Brown, J. Walker (Captain), Ian Clarkson (Legend), R. Keohane, R. Darby, R. Vale, S. Jordan, M. Flaherty, D. Whitehouse, D. Parker, M. Zachariou, L. Edwards, P. Marshall, P. Thorpe, A. Allen

Mascot: Sam Simmons

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY AND DVD/FILMING DETAILS

There are a wide selection of fantastic action photos available from Matt Nuttall Photography for this match, please visit his www.mattnuttallphotography.co.uk website for full order details.

In addition there is a superb DVD available, it includes footage of the pre-match build up as well as full match action and can be ordered by contacting Shane Wilkinson on tel - 07976 509335, or by e-mail at - wilkie002@ntlworld.com

A percentage of all these sales will go towards Football Aid’s nominated charities.