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Everton Game 1 2012

It was a glorious afternoon and you could feel the excitement around the famous old Goodison Park stadium as two sets of proud Evertonians graced the same hallowed turf as first team stars like Nikica Jelavic, Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines, and Darren Gibson. The players were also coming to terms with the excellent news that former Everton fullback Neil Pointon, who spent 5 seasons with the club, playing over 102 league games, was to be their legend on the day as well. The players received a warm welcome from their fans, soaking in the applause that would help settle any last minute nerves.

Monday 14th May
Everton Home vs Everton Away
Match: Game 1
Kick Off: 14:00pm
Legends: Neil Pointon
Match Officials: Gordon Johnson, Keiron Jones, Liam Ockleshaw and Harry Fishwick

It was Dave Taylor's side in gold that got the game underway and both teams started quick trying to get their foot on the ball. The Home side in Blue created the first chance, winger Clive Bateman picked out his supporting midfielder Bransford at the edge of the box but he was unable to keep his volley down as it flew over Away GK Valerio Spinola's goal.

The fast pace of the game didn't allow either team to settle on the ball, until a fantastic route one ball from right back Grace dropped perfectly over the back of the defence. As Home keeper Thomas Whitfield rushed off his line it was Captain Dave Taylor's fantastic first touch that helped him round the helpless keeper, before he slotted the ball in to the net, to open the scoring. (0-1)

Shortly after, the Away team extended their lead with Robert Grace getting his second assist of the day. Grace's bombing run found himself playing two well worked 1-2's with Iain Taker, opening up the space for him to play a simple cut-back to No 9 Chris Roberts, waiting anxiously on the 6 yard box. His first time shot fired across the face of the goal into the far corner. (0-2)

The Home side had no time to feel sorry for themselves and started to find the composure they desperately needed. As No 10 James Bransford was becoming more involved in the game the Home side started to string some impressive pattern of plays together which helped them to eventually pull one back. As Legend Neil Pointon looked to deliver a cross into the path of the strikers the ball drifted over the keeper's head and into the far corner. After video replays and several debates it looks like Pointon might just have went for goal after seeing the keeper off his line! Regardless, this was the much needed lifeline the Home side needed after conceding 2 early goals. (1-2)

The Blue's kept up the pressure, playing the simple passes as the Gold's struggled to retain possession, however a slack pass from Pointon let Grace in behind the left back. The Away No 15's pin-point cross landed perfectly on Dave Taylor's right boot inside the 6 yard box. However to Whitfield's relief the ball thundered over the bar. A great chance to reclaim a 2 goal lead.

Away No 4 Steven Hughes was controlling the game and pulling all the strings from the heart of the Golden defence but a mix up between Hughes and goalkeeper Spinola caused a spectacular goal line scramble. A long ball played up should have been safely headed back to the goalkeeper, but as the looping header drifted over Spinola's head the goalkeeper rushed back, amazingly, diving to push the ball away from his goal line. Home striker Chris Bradley pounced on the ball, extracting another 2 good saves from the Golden goalie but his third attempt was wide of the far post. A great opportunity for the Blues to even the scoring!

As the referee blew the whistle to end the half, both teams could be proud of their performance walking into the changing rooms. It was an excellent first half, with plenty of chances and both teams playing some attractive football David Moyes would have been impressed by.

Half-Time: Everton Home 1 - 2 Everton Away

With the sun beating down, both teams took on some much needed fluids before continuing in a similar fashion, and the half-time substitutes made an instant impact as the Blues levelled the game. Clive Bateman picked the ball up just inside the opposition half, played a brilliant 1-2 with Ryan Cullan, opening up the space in the corner. Getting his head up he picked out the delayed run of Home No 10 James Bransford who placed the ball into the top corner to even the scores. (2-2)

However, encouraged by the early goal they had conceded, the Away team piled on the pressure, carving out several chances but they couldn't find the clinical finishing they had demonstrated in the first half.

Home No 15 Ryan Cullan proved to be a handful for the opposition with some explosive runs and pin point accurate through balls, and he was injecting even more pace into the game. The Home team looked to advance forward, with a ball from Cullan to Breen, who showed some fancy footwork before finding Bateman in space. The No 7's shot thundered towards goal and pulled out a top class save from Spinola. That was a real chance for the Blues to take the lead.

A poor corner, allowed a quick break from the Away team, releasing Captain Dave Taylor one on one with Whitfield. Taylor tried the chip from 25 yards but couldn't get the ball over the well placed goalkeeper. Chances were now starting to open up for both sides.

The Home team responded emphatically with a few goal scoring opportunities pulling the best out of Valerio Spinola, but they couldn't take the lead. The missed chances allowed yet another counter attack with Ryan Clayford slotting Dave Taylor though on goal and he wasn't going to miss from there! Taylor's second goal of the day and the Captain was showing real character, putting his side back in front. (2-3)

A few minutes later the Home team were on the prowl again and Captain Andrew Taker had a close range shot saved, the ball fell back to his feet and he crossed it to David Nee but the midfielder couldn't put a header on it. A clear cut chance goes missing to level the game; he'll kick himself for missing that one.

However shortly afterwards it was the Golden Captain leading by example yet again, a great timed arched run left the Blues defence for dead and Taylor drove into the box with the ball before picking out Alexander Newport-Black at the back post for an easy tap in. The young No 17 looked delighted to get his name on the score sheet! (2-4)

Not long after a long free-kick into the box should have been easily dealt with by the Blues, but a handful of errors left Golden Boy Dave Taylor free to twist and turn before slotting the ball home. Hat-trick Hero Taylor! (2-5)

The Home side didn't lose faith and continued to press forward but chance after chance went by, it was hard to believe that the Away side didn't concede another. As tired legs started to sink in it was Ryan Cullen and Newport-Black still trying to push their respective side's forward, both pacey players were causing great problems against their opponents.

That was to be the end of the scoring and we're sure both sides will agree it was a fantastic game to be involved in, with plenty of excitement at either end!

Full-Time: Everton Home 2 - 5 Everton Away

Man of the Match (Home): Paul Polhill
Man of the Match (Away): Robert Grace
Moment of the Match: David Nee

Home Team: Thomas Whitfield, Leigh Evans, Neil Pointon, Paul Polhill, Charles Cullen, John Breen, Clive Bateman, David Thompson, Andrew Taker (C), James Bransford, Chris Bradley, David Nee, Ryan Cullen, James Mcguire, David Phillips.
Manager: Neil Pointon
Mascots: Joshua Connor Bradley

Away Team: Valerio Spinola, Bob McDonald, Neil Pointon, Steven Hughes, John McGouran, Simon Schofield, Iain Taker, Paul Levinson, Chris Roberts, John Mowbray, Dave Taylor (C), Ryan Clayford, Robert Grace, Dominic Cahillane, Alexander Newport-Black
Manager: Neil Pointon
Mascots: Sam Bradley