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Crystal Palace 2009

On what was a beautiful spring evening at Selhurst Park, twenty-six Palace supporters and their fans arrived for the 2009 Football Aid Charity Match. Players travelled from all over the world for the event, with two truly dedicated Eagles fans making their way from Italy and Los Angeles. Each and every one of them were there for the same reason: the honour of pulling on their personalised kits and running out the tunnel to play on their very own Field of Dreams.
 
Wednesday 6th May 2009
Crystal Palace Home vs Crystal Palace Away
Selhurst Park
K.O: 5.30pm
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Thomas Mellor, Gordon Manning and Sara Hobbs
Legends: Jim Cannon and Kit Symons
 
The game certainly started brightly enough, taking only a minute for the Away side to take the lead. Midfielder Nick Carter played a one-two with his teammate, only to receive the ball back on the left of the penalty area. He then sent in a left footed cross that was met by Daniel Johnson who was 6 yards from the keeper, whose strike provided the first goal of the game.
 
The Away side retained most of the early pressure, and they managed to extend their advantage in the ninth minute with Chris Shields evading two challenges before delivering an exquisite chip over the on-coming keeper with the outside of his right foot. Only 3 minutes later, the Home side pulled themselves back into the match with Ryan Cunningham unleashing an absolute belter with his left foot from 30 yards out to make it 2-1.
 
There was no slowing down in the action as the half continued, with both sides creating chances and both keepers being forced into saves. It was the Away team who managed to extend their lead in the 27th minute – first Chris Shields hit a ferocious shot which the keeper did well to parry, then another shot from inside the area was blocked by Brendan Broom. Finally the ball was hit across the goal and Nick Carter got in front of his marker to hit the ball into the net for the third goal of the game.
 
The Away side were running riot at this stage, and had ample opportunity to move further ahead. The side were unlucky to have a penalty appeal turned down on 40 minutes and shortly afterwards they really should have made it four. A nice pass found 2 Away players with only the home keeper, Sean Tookey, to beat. The Goalkeeper pulled out a good block before shooting outfield and promptly running up the left touchline and into the opposing half of the pitch!
 
That moment of madness – or was it inspiration – by their keeper seemed to stir some life into the Home side and they got themselves right back into the action when Ryan Cunningham chased down a ball that the keeper Jay Cleary caught, then dropped, giving him the easiest of tap-ins just before half time.
 
Half Time: Crystal Palace Home 2 – 3 Crystal Palace Away
 
The second half was only five minutes old when the Away team got themselves that two goal lead once again with substitute Kyle Williams chipping a great ball over the Home defence and Tony Coombes running on and slotting it low into the bottom right of goal with his left foot.
 
The Home side had been outplayed for the majority of the match but their never-say-die attitude had seen them reduce the deficit twice already and less than two minutes after conceding they did it again. Ryan Cunningham tried to shoot from inside the area, managing only to scuff his shot. The ball kindly fell to Home striker Tom Dennis to calmly slide it past the keeper to increase the score to 3-4.
 
In the 58th minute the Away keeper, Jay Cleary, made up for his mistake in the first half with a fantastic fingertip save from a corner – the ball arriving in the box and being met with a firm header from Brendan Broom that looked as though it was going in at the top right corner. Cleary managed to get across and tipped the ball onto the crossbar.
 
The game was at a critical stage as it entered the final 25 minutes, with only a solitary goal separating the sides. Both sets of players were beginning to show signs of fatigue but it was the Away side who got that all important two goal cushion in the 68th minute. Robert Coleman broke down the right wing before cutting inside and hitting a low, left footed shot underneath the keeper brought the score to 3-5.  
 
Four minutes later and the game was effectively over; the Away side breaking down the right wing in numbers, and Robert Coleman passing inside to Chris Shields who flicked it inside for Daniel Johnson to shoot into the goal. His first time effort hit the bar, but Johnson followed up and headed into the empty net (3-6).
 
The final 15 minutes was played at a much slower pace, although both sides did create a number of chances. Just as the match was drawing to a close the Away side had one final chance to add some gloss to the score line, however Home keeper Sean Tookey denied them with a great double save.
 
Full Time: Crystal Palace Home 3 – 6 Crystal Palace Away
 
Home Team: Cunningham, Panther, May, Houghton, Bowden, Piddock, MacLure, Dennis, Broom, Bolognini, Gilligan, Shields
 
Away Team: Cleary, Peck, Hardy, Walder, Hardy, Johnson, Carter, Coombes, Shields, Coleman, Williams, Holmes, Creedy
 
Mascot – Harry Bowden
 
Man of the Match (home): Sean Tookey
Man of the Match (away): George Hardy
Moment of the Match: Ryan Cunningham