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Wales International 2009

On a scorching day at the Millennium Stadium, 14 Welsh footballers took on a Rest of the World Side for the inaugural Football Aid Wales International Challenge Match.  The players were following in the footsteps of the first national eleven team, who had graced the very same surface just the night before in their World Cup Qualifier against Germany.  
Wales International Challenge
The Millennium Stadium
Thursday 2nd April
Legends: Pat Nevin, Clayton Blackmore and Trevor Steven
Match Officials: Paul Salina, Alan Butler, Ian Dixon and Dave Menzie

With the players still taking in their awe inspiring surroundings, the match started at a slow pace with the first ten minutes seeing little else than a blocked shot on goal from the Rest of the World team. Proceedings sprung to light in the 10th minute however when Home midfielder, James Thomas put an impressive 30 yard free kick narrowly over the bar. Ten minutes later saw neat play from ROW striker Chris Courtenay, when he thread the ball into his team-mate Chris Cooper whose shot went straight into the grateful hands of Wales keeper Craig Morris. However this was just a precursor for the incidents that were to follow beginning with the awarding of a penalty to the ROW team in the 25th minute, and an arguable red card which wasn’t to be. This was accompanied by a blow for the ROW team, as the penalty was saved by keeper Morris with an amazing left handed reaction. Morris continued his good form with another great save three minutes later which saw the ball parried out for a corner.  

Wales seemed to take heed from their Goalkeepers brilliance and immediately launched an attack, resulting in Phil Jarman’s 25 yard shot being saved easily by the ROW keeper.  However, just a minute later, the first Football Aid goal at The Millennium Stadium was scored, with striker Adam Simpson providing a rasping shot from the edge of the box which flew into the left hand side of the goal. 

Facing the possibility of going into the break one-nil down, the ROW team sprung into life with a great chance taken by centre forward Chris Courtenay, whose close range effort was again excellently saved by Wales keeper Morris. 

However it was the Welsh team that grasped the momentum coming into the break. A flowing move involving the Welsh attacking players culminated in ROW right back Steve Lennon having to clear the ball off the line. Following on from the attack, Home midfielder James Thomas burst clear of the defence and despite seeing his initial shot saved by the keeper, recovered inside the danger area. A pass across to Ray Tammam allowed for the winger to take his shot, which was at the last minute deflected into the goal by home striker Phil Jarman – with the forwards celebrations cut short for offside.  

Half Time: Wales 1-0 Rest of the World

It was the home team who immediately took the initiative in the second period with striker Phil Jarman making up for his disallowed effort and scoring with a shot from the edge of the area for Wales’ second goal in the 47th minute.  

5 minutes later, the Home team’s pressure didn’t subside as more good interplay resulted in the Wales team winning a corner. The cross was delivered by Ray Tammam to midfielder Gary O’Hagan, who smashed his shot off of the crossbar. It was just 3 minutes later that the Home side managed to further their lead with Tammam being instrumental in the move. The midfielders cross to the far side of the goal reached Jarman, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-0. 

Tammam again provided a chance for Thomas in the 58th minute, but his volley only found the keepers hands. Then to complete a barrage of attacking play, striker Adam Simpson attempted to catch the keeper off his line by lobbing the ball onto the crossbar. However this was to precede a proud moment for the ROW team as they brought a goal back, with Dave Wolf’s net bound shot from the edge of the 6 yard box spectacularly celebrated with a somersault.

However the ROW’s celebrations were cut short by a fourth goal from Wales’ supremely confident players. Again, it was striker Adam Simpson, who after a smart one-two with team mate Phil Jarman, rounded the keeper and left footed the ball into the net to make it his second goal of the game, and the fourth for his side.  

7 minutes later the Home side scored again, this time it was midfielder James Thomas who instigated the move, breaking through and beating the offside trap before squaring the ball to Simpson. The striker once again going for goal, sending the keeper the wrong way with the net bound shot to complete his hat trick. 

On the 80th minute, the ROW team’s miseries were compounded when the referee awarded a penalty for a push on Simpson when he had his back to goal. Captain Phil Jarman stepped up, slotting the ball to the left of the keeper for the second hat trick of the game.

By this stage, both teams were flagging for very different reasons due to the slightly strange situation which led to the home teams final goal. The ball fell to Simpson in a seemingly offside position, but much to his and everybody elses surprise the linesman did not put his flag up and it was left to the striker to put the ball into the net amid protests from the Away players. This marked a day to remember for the Welshman with his fourth goal making the Wales team’s seventh. 

There was just enough time left for Home substitute Paul Foster to have his effort ruled out for offside.  Moments later, the referee’s final whistle signified the end of an exciting and dramatic inaugural International Challenge Match at The Millennium Stadium.   

Final Score; Wales 7, Rest of the World 1

Home Team: Morris, Davies, Thomas, Blackmore, Gardner, Jacobson, King, Tammam, Newberry, Simpson, Thomas, Jarman, O'Hagan, Paul Foster

Away Team: Graham, Lennon, Nevin, Steven, Scullion, Willson, Spencer, Cooper, Stuart Jarrett, Steven Jarrett, Tell, Courtenay, Tell-Velez, Thomas, Wolf

Mascots: Lucy Jacobson

Man of the Match (Home) – James Thomas
Man of the Match (Away) – John Scullion

Moment of the Match – Stuart Jarrett