As the Blues fans took to the pitch for the 2015 game at St Andrews there was an air of excitement in the air. The atmosphere was electric under the floodlights and the sizable crowd were looking forward to another great BCFC Football Aid game. They weren’t to be disappointed and enjoyed an end to end cracker of a game that somehow finished with just the 1 goal being scored! Jeff Kenna’s impressive Away team came out on top 0-1 after a 75min penalty, however the Home team led by Nicky Eaden acquitted themselves brilliantly as well.
Date: Tue 28th April 2015
Venue: St Andrews
Birmingham City (Home) vs Birmingham City (Away)
Kick Off: 19:00 pm
Legends/Managers: Kevin Broadhurst, Darren Carter, Nicky Eaden, Kevin Poole & Jeff Kenna
Match Officials: Alex Shaw, Tom Reeves, Tom Bowkett & Liam Teraud
It was a clear night and the playing conditions were perfect as the Away team kicked off from left to right wearing the Red and White change strip. The Home team’s Legend was Jeff Kenna and the Away team had the experience of Nick Eaden at Left Back and both ex-pros began by stamping their authority on the game. It was evident it was going to be a tight encounter!
The 1st chance of the game came when the elegant Away No 10 Russell Davis played in No 8 Wayne Davis, however the speedy left mid was narrowly offside and his effort wouldn’t have counted anyway. Both defences were playing the offside trap well and that policy, combined with the defensive alertness and good anticipation of centre halves Tony and Ricky Sewell and Andrew Allen and Martin McLeod, kept chances to a premium.
Home No 11 Aidan Peaty did get an opportunity on 10mins to open the scoring when the ball fell to him after his strike partner Mario Zachariou was crowded out on the edge of the box, however his right foot effort wasn’t quite high enough to beat the ever alert Away keeper Sam Godsall.
The Away strike partners Matthew Gordon and Kev Wright were also combining well, and a dangerous looking run and cross from Wright almost found his partner in the box minutes later, however it was cleared away by the Home defence. Wright used his pace to good effect again soon afterwards, latching onto a through ball from Jeff Kenna and surging into the left side of the box before cutting the ball back for centre mid Mark Johnson, however the No 6’s shot was partially blocked by Eaden, and Godsall was able to gather comfortably.
The game was at a very high standard, with the central midfield combinations of Johnson and Flanagan and Gallears and Davis showing up well, but defences remained on top. The Home team did however fashion the best chance of the match on 25mins, impressive defender Ricky Sewell won the ball in defence and played it to his right winger Neil Wall, the No 7 played it back to Mark Johnson who released the pacy Wall, allowing him to run in on goal. With the defences closing in Wall let fly with a goalbound effort, but an incredible finger tip save from keeper Sam Godsall denied the Home team the opening goal! To add insult to injure the officials awarded the Home side a goal-kick as well...
The Home side pressed again and with 30mins on the clock they created another opportunity when a clever chipped ball from No 10 Richard Flanagan found striker Mario Zachariou free in the box, however under pressure from the excellent Away No 4 Andrew Allen, the normally deadly striker lifted his shot too high and the chance was gone. Moments later Zachariou had another chance, but once again Allen was on hand to thwart him with an excellent last ditch tackle.
There was no let up in the pace of the game and both sides were pushing hard for that elusive 1st goal, however the excellent defensive play from both side’s was keeping them at bay.
A quick free-kick from Aidan Peaty to Mark Johnson allowed the alert midfielder to play in Mario Zachariou on the edge of the box, however the No 9’s shot across goal was just too wide.
Despite all the player’s best attacking efforts the referee’s whistle blew for halftime with the score 0-0 and huge credit should go to both teams' defences. Goalkeeper Poole and defenders Bennett, Tony and Ricky Sewell and Eaden for the Home team and goalkeeper Godsall and defenders Smith, Allen, McLeod and Kenna for the Away team had all been immense, and the fans rightly saluted their efforts as they left the pitch!
Half Time: Birmingham (Home) 0-0 Birmingham (Away)
Managers Kevin Broadhurst, Darren Carter and Kevin Poole were rightly pleased with their team’s efforts and told them so at the half-time interval. However they urged them to take their chances when they came, as with the standard of both defences being so high it was clear they were going to be at a premium!
The pace of the game didn’t show any signs of relenting and half chances came at both ends for the No 9s Zachariou and Gordon, however neither player could make them count and the game remained all square.
Two quick chances then fell to Wright and Howe for the Away team, but again their efforts were expertly cleared by the Home defence. The team in White looked like they were finally going to break the deadlock on 60mins when a clever free-kick from Captain found Matthew Gordon clear in the box, however Home keeper Joey Poole made a fantastic block with his legs to deny the striker! The pacey No 9 looked like he would score minutes later when he ran clear on goal, however excellent last ditch defending 1st from Eaden and then from No 5 Ricky Sewell saved the team in Blue.
The Home team responded well though and when the ball was nicked off Jeff Kenna by Aidan Peaty, Neil Wall was set free down the right wing. His pinpoint cross was met by the head of Andrew Silvey, however the impressive Away goalkeeper Sam Godsall plucked the ball out of the air with ease. The Away team came right back at the Blues though and Russell Davis used his skill to work a good opportunity for himself on the edge of the box, however his well struck effort was just too high.
As the game entered the final 15mins without score there was a real possibility the enthusiastic Blues supporters would witness our 1st ever 0-0 draw. However the deadlock was finally broken on 75mins by the team in White and Red. Away No 17 Stewart Fay played a clever one two with Kev Wright and drove into the left side of the box. The Home No 16 Luke Pagett made a desperate effort to stop him with a sliding tackle, however he mistimed it slightly and could only bring the left mid crashing to the ground. Up stepped Away No 9 Matthew Gordon and he made no mistake from the penalty spot, expertly sending the keeper the wrong way and firing the ball into the left corner of the net (0-1).
Urged on by their enthusiastic followers in the stands the Home team desperately tried to find a way back into the game, but it was the Away team who almost doubled their lead shortly afterwards. Stewart Fay played the ball inside to his fellow midfielder Keith Howe, the No 14 let fly with a left footed shot but could only look on in disappointment when the ball rebounded off the far post to safety. The Away team were on top now and only a great interception by Tony Sewell stopped Gordon running clear on goal again. Then great interplay between Kev Wright and Matthew Gordon fashioned another chance for the No 9 on the edge of the box, however his well struck effort flew just by the keeper’s left hand post.
The Home team weren’t giving up yet though and when Aidan Peaty played in his strike partner Mario Zachariou it looked like he would get them on even terms, however as he slid in to apply the finish Away keeper Sam Godsall came haring out of goal to deny him. Next up No 16 Luke Pagett curled a free-kick from the edge of the box goalwards, but that ended up just wide as well.
It was breathless stuff now and with the referee about to blow for full time the Away team counter attacked quickly. Captain Sean Farmer played a great ball into Keith Howe and the No 14’s shot from close range looked destined to double their lead, however Home keeper Joey Poole flung himself to his left and somehow managed to parry the ball away. It was an incredible save and a fantastic way to end the match!
The game ended moments later with the Away side edging the win by the narrowest of margins. Despite the lack of goals it had been a hugely entertaining game and it was only down to the excellence of both team’s defences that the watching fans hadn’t had any more goals to applaud. Both teams received a rousing response when they left the pitch and could be rightly proud of their efforts.
Full time: Birmingham (Home) 0 - 1 Birmingham (Away)
Man of the Match (Home): Joey Poole
Man of the Match (Away): Russell Davies
Moment of the Match: Sam Godsall
Home Team: Joey Poole, Alex Bennnett, Nicky Eaden, Tony Sewell, Ricky Sewell, Mark Johnson, Neil Wall, Jason Andrews, Mario Zachariou, Richard Flanagan, Aidan Peaty (C), Samuel Jones, Luke Pagett, Andrew Silvey
Home Managers: Kevin Broadhurst & Darren Carter
Home Mascot: Liam Cosgrove
Away Team: Sam Godsall, Geoff Smith, Jeff Kenna, Andrew Allen, Martin McLeod, Aaron Gallears, Jamie Godsall, Wayne Davis, Matthew Gordon, Russell Davis, Kev Wright, Keith Howe, Kevin Banks, Sean Farmer (C), Stewart Fay
Away Managers: Kevin Poole
Away Mascot: Shay Gallears