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Aston Villa Game 2 2006

Football Aid Championships, Sunday 14th May, Villa Park, Att 227

Aston Villa (Home) 3 Aston Villa (Away) 3

A stellar second half performance helped Hamilton’s men hold Villa Home to a breathtaking draw in the final Aston Villa leg of the Football Aid Championships.

Despite a hat trick from an inspirational Neil Starkie, Villa Home were unable to stem the blazing second half comeback but the first 45minutes told a very different story.

Scoring in the first minute of the match put the Away side firmly on the back foot and set the tone for the rest of the half. Blair’s men took commanding control, enjoying long spells of possession and great chances at goal. Desperate to make amends, Wilkinson pulled of one dramatic save after the next to prevent the Home side pulling further ahead.

On the half hour, Starkie was brought down in the penalty area and no one could have saved the resulting penalty. The striker coolly despatched a scorching shot which whizzed into the bottom left hand side of goal to make it 2-0.

Wilkinson was forced to work hard for the rest of the half as a fired up Starkie continued to build the pressure. In the 35th minute, Starkie looked certain to complete his hat trick, finding himself clear in front of goal and with time on his hands. Wilkinson pulled off an outstanding save to deny the striker and keep the score at 2-0 leading into the interval.

Half time tactics must have been particularly inspiring from Manager ‘Chico’ Hamilton as the Away team came roaring into the second half. With only 5 minutes on the clock, early pressure resulted in a free kick which skipper Norton stepped up to take. A goal of the season contender swung into goal, curling out of reach of a diving Harte’s hands.

Starkie responded immediately with two attempts at goal in as many minutes. The first was expertly saved from Wilkinson while the second was taken on the run and skimmed wide of the right hand post.

Brimming with new found confidence, the Away team hit back hard. In the 64th minute, midfielder Joeres scored the much deserved equaliser, beating keeper Harte easily with a feint left before calmly slotting the ball home to make it 2-2.

With Away bringing new life into the game, Blair’s men were desperate to regain their control of the match. Once more, Starkie was their saviour, completing his hat trick after the ball rebounded at his feet from a corner.

But Away refused to give up and their hard work paid off in the 73rd minute. Surging forward on a break, forward Tranton ran onto a perfect through ball and sent a stinging strike into the back of the net.

This set up a frantic final fifteen minutes as both teams fought for the winning goal. Away looked to have clinched it in the 78th minute after some great individual play from Darren Cotton saw his shot beating keeper Harte but well placed defence on the goal line allowed Home to scramble the ball clear.

The final score 3-3.

As Manager Andy Blair commented after the match, “3-3 result but charity and the memories created here today are the winners. It was a top day and many thanks to all at Football Aid and Aston Villa!”