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Arsenal 2010

The sun was shining brightly in North London when the excited Gunners fans arrived for Football Aid's first ever game at the highly impressive Emirates stadium. The players were thrilled to have the chance to pull on their personalised kits and march out of the tunnel to grace the same hallowed turf that first team stars like Fabregas, Van Persie and Walcott had done only 2 weeks previously. It was a perfect day for such a great occasion.

Saturday 22nd May 2010
Arsenal Home vs Arsenal Away
Kick Off: 10:00am
Legend: Perry Groves
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Andrew Stevens, Steve Daly and Caroline Mitchell

The Away team, wearing white, got the game underway but it was the Home team that created the first chances early on. Nothing too testing for the Away defence to deal with but certainly showing will to win.

The first clear cut chance came from a long range effort by the No 11 Andrew Crawford. A good ball in from the right wing by Neil McCoy allowed Crawford to shoot from outside the area but Andrew Wood saved well.

Next Jack Langmore came extremely close for the Home team when he flicked the ball over the head of the first defender before lobbing the keeper. The ball was heading towards goal but a last man header off the line from Mike Burke was enough to keep his team level. Credit is due for great piece of skill by Langmore but fantastic defending by the right back Burke.

Away Captain Dean Thorpe then drove forward before sending the ball wide. Again, good work down the right flank by McCoy of the Away team allowed Stanton to play Craig Purnell through on the keeper, Purnell's low shot went under the keeper but went narrowly wide and hit the side-netting.

It was the Home team that opened the scoring and what a great individual goal it was by Shaakmedov! The energetic winger showed a great burst of pace on the right wing before cutting inside, beating defender after defender he played a lovely one-to with Langmore before skipping by the last defender and sliding it under goalkeeper Jamie Nice (1-0). 

Only moments later and the Home team had doubled their lead. Shaakmedov picked the ball up in the middle of the park and played in Abe Taylor who had narrowly beaten the offside trap, Taylor closed in on goal and from just outside the area chipped the ball to the right of the keeper and wheeled away in jubilation (2-0).

Half-Time: Arsenal Home 2 - 0 Arsenal Away

The Home team got the second half underway and with confidence high in the camp looked to increase on their lead. This was not to be for the Home team and with Perry Groves now joining the Away team it was his men in white who grabbed the first goal of the half with arguably the best worked team goal seen at any Football Aid game this season.

Groves started the move with a ball forward to second-half sub Scott Randall who then played the ball inside to Robert Fullam. The centre mid carried the ball forward before slipping it through to McCoy, who played the ball first time to Ben Leslie. The No 9 cut inside quickly, tricking the defender before blasting the ball in to the bottom right corner of the goals. Excellent build up for a very well-taken goal! (2-1)

Confidence was certainly not dented in the Home camp and they continued to fight on for a third goal. The goal came about 10 mins after the Away had pulled one back when Taylor repaid Shaakmedov for his assist in the first half. A lovely ball through by Taylor allowed Shaakmedov to close in on the keeper, Nice came close to gathering at feet but the No 17 was too strong and rounded the goalie before hammering home into an empty net for his second goal of the game (3-1).

The Away team began to pile on the pressure for the next 15-20 mins, pushing forward. They won 4 corners and a free-kick just outside the area but with the Home defence staying strong they were unable to break through.

It looked like the Home team were beginning to fight their way back in to the game when a cross from Nick Wiley nearly found the strikers in the middle but a late challenge from Mark Freeman was enough to see it turned behind for a corner.

The 5th goal of the game came unsurprisingly for the Away team; Freeman played the ball up-field to the goal-scorer Leslie who sprayed it wide to the right. Here the ball was picked up by Neil McCoy, unchallenged he continued his run, sprinting into the box he then let rip with a magnificent right-footed strike which went rocketing high into the net (3-2).

The hat-trick then came for Away No 17 Shaakmedov from a goal which was very similar to his second. A long ball from the back found Shaakmedov and he beat the defence for speed before bearing down on Nice, side-stepping past him and passing the ball goal-wards for his third. The celebrations weren't as well choreographed as the last few but it was an excellent goal nonetheless! (4-2).

A fifth then came for the Home team when Kelly skipped past Freeman and powered a shot towards the keeper, Jamie Nice did well to save from close range but couldn't hold on and the rebound fell to Andrew Crawford. Un-marked at the back post Crawford hit it first time on the volley into the net (5-2). The Away defenders were hopefully looking for an offside flag but the nearside linesman unfortunately disagreed.

The 7th goal of the game rounded off the scoring in the inaugural Football Aid match at the Emirates and all present left the stadium hoping it would be the first of many more to come.

Full-Time: Arsenal Home 5 - 2 Arsenal Away

Man of the Match Home: Shaakmedov
Man of the Match Away: Bob Thorpe
Moment of the Match: Neil McCoy

Home Team: Wood, Kelly, Perry Groves (1st half), D. Brady, N. Brady, Singh, Wiley, Taylor, Langmore, Lawrence, Crawford, M. Stavrinou, A. Stavrinou, Shaakmedov.

Mascot: Mark Brady

Away Team: Nice, Burke, Perry Groves (2nd half), Freeman, R. Thorpe, Purnell, McCoy, Stanton, Leslie, D. Thorpe, Shields, Fullam, Evans, Randall.

Mascot: James Thorpe