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Birmingham City 2017

Tuesday night’s action saw Football Aid players compete under the lights at St Andrew’s Stadium, playing in a tight and closely contested game at Birmingham City’s home ground, with legend Jerry Gill and his Away team grabbing the win in the end against the mighty efforts of legend Darren Carter and his Home side.

Date: Tuesday 2nd May 2017
Venue: St Andrew’s
Birmingham (Home) vs Birmingham (Away)
Kick Off: 19:00 pm
Legends & Managers: Kevan Broadhurst, Dean Holtham, Darren Carter & Jerry Gill 
Match Officials: Philip Taylor, Vic Kelly, Chloe Matthews, Kyle Husted

As the game got underway, both sides were looking to play direct, with neither side keeping hold of possession, and with 4 mins gone, the first chance of the game fell to Home No 9 Mario Zachariou, played in by strike partner No 11 Chris Francis after a great run in behind the defense the striker struck his shot well but it was drilled straight at Away No 1 Sam Godsall. 

Soon after that chance the deadlock was broken, with Home No 11 Chris Francis firing his team into the lead after looking lively in the early stages of the game. Just 6 mins in he nicked the ball off Away No 6 Mason Kinson deep in the Away 3rd and superbly found the top left corner with his effort (1-0).

Dean Holtham, legend manager of the Away side, would have been delighted with his side’s quick response to going a goal down though, with the team in Red equalising in the 9th min through Away No 7 Andy Sinton. The goal came after an excellent long throw by right back James Cooper into the open space between the Home centre halves, allowing the winger to score with a side foot finish (1-1).

The game’s pattern continued in the same manner, with both sides looking to get beyond defensive lines, and once again Home No 11 Chris Francis was in behind with 20 mins gone, thanks to a long ball from legend Darren Carter, but his effort was rather tame and straight at the Away goalkeeper.

Play began to look more open and end-to-end, with great chances for both sides in the space of a min, firstly with Away No 7 Andy Sinton’s shot from range really testing Home keeper No 1 Aidan Peaty, then down the other end Home No 9 Mario Zachariou chose power over placement with his shot after being played in via a flick on from strike partner Home No 11 Chris Francis.

With 34mins gone the game was still all even when Geoff Smith raced clear only to be taken down by Davide Doninotti right on the edge of the area. The referee waived away the penalty appeals and awarded a free kick rather than a penalty to the Away team, but it didn’t matter in the end thanks to captain and Away No 9 Geoff Smith, who bent his sublime effort over the wall and into the back of the net, leaving the Home keeper helplessly scrambling for the ball and giving his side an important lead (1-2).

Away goalkeeper Sam Godsall, was pulling off brilliant saves once again, maintaining his side’s slender lead, which in the 42nd min was then extended when No 9 Geoff Smith secured his 2nd goal of the game. After a great run down the right by Away No 2 James Cooper, he crossed the ball towards Smith, only for the usually dependable Home No 4 Tony Sewell to uncharacteristically misjudge his clearance and give Smith the chance to smash the ball into the net from close range (1-3).

The referee’s whistle signaled the half-time break soon afterwards with the Away team enjoying a 2 goal advantage. The game had swung from end to end though with plenty of chances at both ends and the Home team were still confident they could find a way into the game. 

Half Time: Birmingham (Home) 1 - 3 Birmingham (Away)

With the Home team 2 goals down, their start to the 2nd half was almost perfect, as newly introduced Home No 17 Stephen Martin had a great chance to reduce the deficit to 1 goal after finding space inside the opposition box, but after the square ball was played by Home legend Darren Carter, the Left Mid couldn’t get enough on his effort and the Away team survived the early scare.

A man who continued to be clinical in front of goal was Away captain No 9 Geoff Smith, who secured a hugely impressive hat trick on 53 mins, with the goal resulting from a deep in-swinging corner headed back into the danger zone by newly introduced Away No 14 Nathan Whitaker, finding the head of Smith who skilfully looped his header over Home legend Darren Carter who was stood on the goal line (1-4).

The score line didn’t stop the Home team from trying to get back in the game though, with plenty of great chances still being created, including Home No 7 Shannon Doherty who after twisting and turning against the Away defender, created some space for a shot which he drilled on goal but once again Away stopper No 1 Sam Godsall produced an excellent save to maintain his side’s 3 goal lead.

After operating as a playmaker from the left back position and his side needing goals, Home legend Darren Carter’s role became much more advanced and on the 72nd min, he was able to replicate Away No 9 Geoff Smith’s goal in the first half, scoring a wicked free kick in the same position, curling the ball into the left corner of the goal to give his side a chance of a comeback (2-4).

Carter’s stunning goal gave the Home team believe and confidence, with the Away side having to defend valiantly and contain an abundance of Home team chances. However the Blues’ resolve cracked on 86 mins when Home No 9 Mario Zachariou played an accurate ball in the box to Home legend Darren Carter whose turn and low shot made its way under Away keeper No 1 Sam Godsall’s arms and into the net much to his frustration. The deficit was just one goal now and it was definitely game on (3-4)!

However just when the Home side sensed a famous comeback Away No 17 Keith Howe raced onto a through ball played by Away no 14 Nathan Whitaker and robbed the outrushing Home GK Aidan Peaty before sliding the ball into the empty net. With just 3mins to go it looked like being the decisive blow for the Away team (3-5).

The battling Home team were still determined to get some sort of consolation from the game though and with 89mins gone there was still time for one more goal to be scored by Home legend Darren Carter. The on-fire former Blues hero securing his hat trick with a thumping effort from inside the box, the ball flying into the top corner with nothing the Away goalkeeper could do about it (4-5)!

It was too little to late for the Home side to get a late equaliser though and the final score ended 4-5 to the Away team. The noisy crowd had witnessed two hat tricks, two free kick goals and plenty of quality entertaining goals being scored in a game where the Home team couldn’t quite make the most of their opportunities and the Away team were grateful for excellent performances by Geoff Smith and Sam Godsall in particular.

A huge thank you goes to Birmingham City FC for supporting another year of Football Aid, in which the players, officials, mascots, managers and spectators were able to come together to create an extra special event. Also an acknowledgement and mention to all FOUR legends Darren Carter, Jerry Gill, Kevan Broadhurst and Dean Holtham for their excellent support and participation in what was a thrilling and entertaining game for all.

Full Time: Birmingham (Home) 4 - 5 Birmingham (Away)

Man of the Match Home: Chris Francis 
Man of the Match Away: Geoff Smith
Moment of the Match: Sam Godsall

Home Team: Aidan Peaty, Sean farmer (C), Darren Carter, Tony Sewell, David Doninotti, Dharmendra Solanki, Shannon Doherty, Dave Taylor, Mario Zachariou, Matthew Gordon, Chris Francis, Ricky Sewell, Edward Smith, Stephen Martin
Home Manager: Kevan Broadhurst
Home Mascot: Jack Hodgkinson

Away Team: Sam Godsall, James Cooper, Jerry Gill, Andrew Allen, Colin Griffiths, Mason Kinson, Andy Sinton, Jamie Jordan, Geoff Smith (C), Ian Watson, Kev Wright, 
Nathan Whitaker, David Brown, Colin Griffiths, Keith Howe
Away Manager: Dean Holtham
Away Mascot: Florence Godsall

"Thanks again for the whole experience at St Andrews again. I've been doing it a few years now as you know and it never gets boring, each time is so amazing to live out the dream playing on my team’s pitch which I never thought I would be able to but thanks to Football Aid I have. It's not only living out my dream but the money raised to goes to some amazing causes which is important too. The whole day is so well organised and made easy for us players and just to let you know I appreciate it all the effort you and your team put in so thank you."
Aidan Peaty - Home Team No.1

"A massive Thank to Football Aid and @BCFC for the wonderful match at St Andrew's May 2nd 2017."
David Doninotti - Home Team No.5

"@FootballAid thank you for Tuesday night great experience and well done to everybody involved @BCFC"
Nathan Whitaker - Away Team No.14

"Thanks @FootballAid for helping me live the dream again."
Tony Sewell - Home Team No.4

"Big thanks for tonight to @FootballAid and my team @BCFC what an experience!!"
Mason Kinson - Away Team No.6

"Great night helping at the @BCFC Football Aid seeing behind the scenes how the event is run and being a part of a great cause @FootballAid"
Joe Vickers - UCFB Student

Match Report written by Sam Bettany (@bettany_sam)