Less than two weeks after the 2008/09 season had drawn to a close, twenty five excited Rams fans turned up at Pride Park Stadium hoping to emulate their heroes on the hallowed turf...Saturday 16th May 2009
The 2009 Football Aid Charity match kicked off to a chorus of cheers and encouragement from the teams' friends and family in the stands; eager to impress their adoring public both sets of players began at a frantic pace, settling down once the initial adrenaline had subsided. In only the second minute the first chance of the game fell to the away team; possession was stolen in the middle of the park and Simon Barlow was played through on goal - only an alert Nicholas Yeates averting the danger.
The away side had another opportunity to open the scoring in the 5th minute when a poor clearance by the home keeper found Sam Hill of the away side, just outside the box on the right of the area - he ran at goal before shooting powerfully, Yeates redeeming himself with a good save to parry the ball away for a corner.
The home side created their first chance in the 8th minute when Mick Flaherty passed to Stewart Pass inside the area who hit a left foot shot across goal that missed wide of the right hand post. After an entertaining opening the game turned a little scrappy and most of the play was confined to the middle third of the pitch. It wasn't until the 22nd minute that the game began to take shape and it was very much the away side that took control. A quick break down the right of midfield saw Sam Hill pass inside to Richard Lucas, he laid the ball off for Roger Dale to hit a right foot shot that was tipped over the bar by Nicholas Yeates.
Moments later and the away side again came close - another break down the right side ended with the ball finding Simon Barlow just outside the area slightly to the left of goal, Barlow hit a terrific right foot shot that curled over the keeper and came crashing back off the crossbar before being cleared to safety. As the first half drew to a close the heavens opened - the players certainly had themselves a slick playing surface.
The final opportunity again fell the way of the away team, just before the half time whistle - Sam Hill sending over another great cross from the right, Richard Lucas getting in front of his marker and heading the ball just wide of the near right hand post!
Half Time: Derby County Home 0 - 0 Derby County Away
The players emerged from the tunnel in good spirits, brought about by the surprise half time appearance of first team player Stephen Bywater who went into the dressing rooms to sign shirts and pose for photo's with the players.
The second half began with the home side looking much more composed than at the end of the first 45 minutes, some early pressure rewarded when they received a corner after a miscued clearance by away keeper, Oliver Wortley. The ball was crossed in left footed by Dene Gagliardi and found the head of Phil Brown who's effort from 5 yards somehow sailed over the bar. Two minutes later and the home side again came close to opening the scoring; this time the ball was crossed in by Michael Robinson and Dene Gagliardi slid in to claim the ball, holding off two defenders before toe-poking the ball at goal and drawing a good block from Wortley.
The match continued with a concerted period of pressure from the home side without too much being created in the final third. That all changed in the 73rd minute when the away team were awarded a penalty; a throw-in was taken level with the area from the right touchline by Dean Thorpe, his throw finding Sam Hill who turned his marker before being brought down just inside the penalty area. Sam Hill stepped up to take the spot kick but hit a tame shot straight at the keeper, the rebound fell at Hill's feet but he again shot tamely and the follow up was saved by Nicholas Yeates.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 78th minute and it went the way of the away side. Simon Barlow crossed the ball in from the right and Captain, Thomas Wortley, stole in between two defenders to plant a powerful header past the helpless keeper into the net (0-1). Almost straight from the restart the home team thought they had levelled the scores - Mick Flaherty playing the ball through for Andy Cripps, his shot through the keepers' legs finding the back of the net but the linesmen's flag had been raised for offside.
With five minutes remaining the home side worked themselves a corner, the ball was fired in by Michael Robinson and found the feet of Stewart Pass, he controlled the ball well before hitting a right foot shot at goal that was brilliantly parried by Oliver Wortley. With less than a minute to go Wortley again denied Stewart Pass - this time a great low shot from 30 yards by Pass was tipped away by Wortley, the follow up by Phil Brown also saved by the excellent keeper.
Just when it looked as though the away side had earned themselves victory the home team summoned a goal right at the death - a quick break after an interception in the middle of the pitch ending with Phil Thorpe hitting a left foot cross across goal that was gratefully knocked in by Andy "Cryptic" Cripps at the back post (1-1).
Full Time: Derby County Home 1 - 1 Derby County AwayHome Team: Yeates, Trussell, Perry, Brown, Taylor, Robinson, Bolger, Flaherty, P. Thorpe, Gagliardi, Pass, Cripps, Guy
Away Team: O. Wortley, D. Thorpe, R. Thorpe, Cripps, Dale, Hill, Page, Barlow, Ansell, T. Wortley, Maclure , Clark
Mascots: Jacob Gagliardi & James Thorpe
Man of the Match (Home): Phil Brown
Man of the Match (Away): Oliver Wortley
Moment of the Match: Simon Barlow