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Liverpool Game 1 2009

It was a beautiful morning in Liverpool as the players arrived at the Anfield Player’s Entrance for the 2009 Football Aid charity match. After being taken through to find their replica kits hanging up in the first team dressing rooms, there was more than a few nervous looking faces that emerged for the warm-up.

Thursday 28th May 2009
Liverpool Home vs Liverpool Away
Game 1
K.O: 10.00am
Legends: Jason McAteer and Michael Thomas
Match Officials: Gary Dinsmore, Dave Menzie, Mark Mellor and Mike Southern

The early action saw both teams moving the ball around the pitch nicely, however neither side were able to create any clear cut chances. A great opportunity however was a 40 yard shot from Home defender David Tierney that went wide of the left post in the 10th minute. That seemed to be the instigator for the Home side to take control of proceedings as Andrew Birnie also tried his luck with another long range effort that was easily held by Away keeper, Ronnie Smollet.

A minute later and it was a case of third time lucky for the Home side – Andrew Grimmant received the ball from Philip Thorpe, dummied two defenders to get the ball onto his right foot then curled a great shot low inside the right post to make it one-nil to the Home team.

There was certainly more cohesion for the Home side and after stealing possession near their own penalty area, they broke quickly through the centre of the pitch and allowed for the ball to be passed out left to Jason McAteer. The former Liverpool great then ran down towards the touchline before coming inside on his right foot and unleashing a great right footed effort over the keeper and into the net doubling the Home team’s lead.

Moments later the game took an unexpected twist as the Away side finally woke up –Nicky Watkinson benefitting from a mix up in the Home defence, running into the box and opening his body to place a delicate chip over the keeper with his left foot into the bottom left of goal to make it 2-1. The match was a much better contest now, but it was still the Home side that looked the more likely to extend their lead.

However, as the half came to a close, Michael Thomas ran from the edge of his area when his team intercepted a pass to receive the ball on the halfway line. The former pro ran through a tackle from John McGouran, then held off Andrew Grimmant before slotting in low with his left foot at the far post for a half time equaliser.  

Half Time: Liverpool Home 2 – 2 Liverpool Away

The second half began with the Home team having the better possession and taking control of the game, much the same as in the first 45mins. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 61st minute with a corner that was taken by McAteer. His cross into the box was headed clear however McAteer managed to get close to the box to cross the ball in again from the left to captain Aaron Roberts, who managed to run in front of the keeper and strike the ball over him into the far right corner of the goal to make it 3-2.

In the 68th minute the Away side almost got back on level terms with a throw in managing to find Andrew Burcher on the left of the field. The midfielder then moved the ball into the box and produced a right-footed shot at the goal only to see his attempt deflected wide for a corner. 

However, five minutes later and Burcher had his name on the score sheet. The midfielder began the move, playing the ball out wide with the outside of his foot and then crossing the ball in towards Tom Smith, who completely miscued his shot. Burcher was there to take the rebounded hit, which he did so to the right of keeper, Phil Brown, who dived the wrong way. 

With the final whistle quickly approaching and with both teams searching for that elusive winner, there was still time for Away keeper, Ronnie Smollet, to produce the moment of the match. Michael O’Reilly crossed the ball in from the right towards the back post, resulting in the ball landing at the feet of David Rolfe who shot at goal four times, each time seeing his effort denied by Smollet, first with his legs, then his left hand, then twice blocking with his arms!

As though his four saves weren’t enough Smollet had the last say in the match when 2 minutes from full time, the Home team broke in numbers - the ball finding Rolfe once again, who shot powerfully towards the bottom left of goal only to see Smollet pull off one final save to secure his team a draw.

Full Time: Liverpool Home 3 – 3 Liverpool Away

Home Team: Brown, Tierney, McAteer, Brady, McGouran, Ward, Pevreall, Thorpe, Roberts, Birnie, Rolfe, Gardner, Somerville, O’Reilly

Away Team: Smollet, McClelland, Thomas, Watkinson, Burcher, Smith, G. Sanchez-Myles, 
Courtenay, B. Sanchez-Myles, Stripe, Smith, Storey

Mascots: Sean Ward and Holly Burcher

Man of the Match (home): Andrew Grimmant
Man of the Match (away): Ronnie Smollet
Moment of the Match: Andrew Burcher