The Manchester skies were slightly grey on Wed 17th May when the Etihad Stadium hosted the Football Aid 2017 clash. Despite the dull weather, it was all sunshine and rainbows for the Away side, who edged a thrilling contest 2-4. There were an abundance of chances for both teams but in the end the Away team triumphed thanks to their ability to take more of their chances. All in all it was a fantastic event, with the City fans having the extra special privilege of playing alongside 4 fantastic Legends in Colin Hendry, Callum Hendry, Richard Wright and Fran González.
Date: Wednesday 17th May 2017
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manchester City (Home) vs Manchester City (Away)
Kick Off: 18:00 pm
Legends & Managers: Colin Hendry, Callum Hendry, Richard Wright and Fran González
Match Officials: Vic Evans, Luke Evans, Neil Matthews and Gary Burke
With building work going on in the tunnel area the players had the unique opportunity to enter the pitch from a temporary tunnel in the corner of the pitch, but despite the work going on the playing conditions at The Etihad were absolutely perfect, with the pitch still in fantastic condition from the Premier League game that was played the previous evening.
The Home side started quickly and registered the first shot on target, after Matthew Gibb’s low strike had to be saved by keeper Craig Smith.
Shortly after that chance, Home No 10 David Turunc’s strike from distance rattled off the bar, leaving the keeper stranded. The Home side continued to impress with their quick start to the game.
However, despite this early pressure, the Away side managed to snatch a goal of their own after 15 mins. After a mix up at the back the ball fell to Andy Lakin, and the No 11 showed his predatory instincts to side foot the ball into an empty net and open the scoring for the team in Black (0-1).
A lot of battling was going on in the midfield as both sides were eager to get possession of the ball and go on the attack and in the early stages the former Spain International Fran was prominent for the Away team, with his superior ball playing ability there for all to see.
The Home side then had a fantastic opportunity to equalise, which came in the form of a point-blank header, but the chance was put just over the bar from Byron Carey.
Then a quick turn and strike from Michael Ozon bounced awkwardly in front of the Home keeper, however the impressive Matthew O’Regan held onto the ball well.
The Away side had to defend well to keep the Home attack at bay and hold onto their lead.
At the other end a free kick on the edge of the box was awarded to the Away side after a quick counter attack, which saw Robert Ingham foul David Heason. However the team in Black couldn’t capitalise and the subsequent free kick was fired over the bar.
Some good defending from the Home side halted a dangerous looking chance, when David Turunc came sliding in to deny Chris Roberts a free shot on goal.
However shortly after this good piece of defending, a dangerous ball across the box from Moshe Hasid was steered in by a sliding Chris Roberts, the No 5 showing the finishing reactions of a poacher in the box to double his side’s lead on 35 mins (0-2).
The half-time whistle brought an end to an exciting first half, which saw both teams go at each other from the start, but where the Away side proved to be more the clinical of the two sides. With everything still to play for in the 2nd half, more goals were guaranteed.
Half Time: Man City (Home) 0 - 2 Man City (Away)
Colin Hendry’s team talk must have helped as the Home side started the 2nd half with attacking intent right from the off and they got a quick goal back when Lee Sweeney’s audacious long range strike from 25 yards flew past the keeper and nestled into the bottom corner in the 51st min (1-2)!
The Away side responded well to that setback though and a fantastic show of skill from the Away side’s legend Fran increased his side’s advantage again on 57 mins. The former Spain International jinking past multiple defenders and slotting the ball calmly past the oncoming keeper (1-3).
The Away side’s confidence was restored and they got their 4th of the match soon afterwards. A fantastic upfield pass found Andy Lakin, who lobbed the keeper brilliantly to notch his 2nd goal of the day with 65 mins on the clock (1-4).
A vital challenge from Colin Hendry’s son Callum then kept the Home side in the game, after a cross was whipped into a dangerous area and Hendry had to act decisively to clear the ball.
The Home keeper was then called into action after Andy Lakin used his pace to get away from the defence and drilled a low strike on goal, however his effort was well saved by Matthew O’Regan, who got down quickly.
The Away side were piling on the pressure, looking for the decisive 5th goal, however the Home side were defending well.
A golden chance then arrived for the Home side to get a goal back, a free kick was hoisted upfield before being headed on to David Turunc, however the midfielder’s volleyed strike went straight at Away keeper Craig Smith and the ball was cleared away.
It looked to be another goal on the scoresheet for the Away side, though Lee Sweeney’s diving header was ruled out as he was judged to be in an offside position.
The Home side were finding it hard to break down the well marshalled Away defence and resorted to taking shots from outside the box, but keeper Craig Smith was equal to them and saved well on more than one occasion.
A bit of chaos then ensued at the back, which saw Home keeper Matthew O’Regan slide tackle Moshe Hasid outside the box to prevent a goal, this left an empty net for Andrew Balmforth to attempt a lob, however, he was denied by Robert Ingham who alertly headed the ball away from goal.
Again, the Away side were denied another goal, when Richard Caplan played in Moshe Hasid, who found himself 1-on-1, but his rocketed strike cannoned off the bar and away to safety.
However the Home side did get a consolation right before the full time whistle, when James Stansfield’s, brilliant looping header found its way into the top corner, leaving no chance for the keeper (2-4).
The ref’s whistle blew shortly afterwards with the Away side leaving the Etihad Stadium 2-4 winners, which could have been more but for the impressive Home keeper Matthew O’Regan. The Home side battled throughout the game though, and scored some special goals themselves and were unfortunate not to have found the net more themselves. It was an end-to-end encounter, played in great spirit throughout and both teams certainly gave it their all and played with their hearts on their sleeves.
Huge thanks again to Manchester City FC and City in the Community for allowing us the opportunity to host the game at The Etihad Stadium and also to our Legends Colin Hendry, Callum Hendry, Richard Wright and Fran González for their fantastic support on the night.
Full Time: Man City (Home) 2 - 4 Man City (Away)
Man of the Match Home: No.5 Byron Carey
Man of the Match Away: No.7 Michael Ozon
Moment of the Match: No.9 Lee Sweeney
Home Team: Matthew O'Regan, Paul Reeves, Colin Hendry, Callum Hendry, Robert Ingham, Byron Carey, Danny Cheng (C), Luis Vasconez, Matthew Gibbs, Lee Sweeney, David Turunc, Terry Jones, James Stansfield, Adrian Simion, Darren Cohen, Steve Charnock
Away Team: Craig Smith (C), Paul Roberts, Richard Wright, Alessandro Pommella, Chris Roberts, Scott Mitchell, Michael Ozon, Fran González, Moshe Hasid, David Heason, Andy Lakin, Richard Caplan, Chris Roberts (A5), Paul Roberts (A2), Andrew Balmforth
Match report written by Josh Brimble.
"The best football experience I have ever had in my life. An absolutely incredible charity, will definitely be back – keep up the great work!"
Byron Carey - Home Team No.5
"I wanted to drop you an e-mail to say thanks so much for the game at The Etihad last night.
It really was a good game and played in the usual great spirit. I worked out that last night was my 13th game with Football Aid over the last 10 years or so and I still look forward to every game as though it were the first.
It is also a privilege to be able to support the charity at the same time.
See you next year."
Richard Caplan - Away Team No.14
"Thanks Football Aid for helping me with a lifelong dream to play on the first team pitch! It was really well organised and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you."
David Turunc - Home Team No.10