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Everton Game 1 2010

The morning sun was shining on the famous old Goodison Park stadium as two sets of proud Evertonians marched out onto the hallowed turf to the strains of the traditional Z-Cars theme ringing in their ears. Along with the wild cheering and applause from their fans it was certainly a rousing reception and one that would have helped to dispel any last minute nerves.

Thursday 13th May
Everton Home v Everton Away
Game 1
Kick Off: 10:00am
Legends: Matt Jackson & Stuart Barlow
Match Officials: Andy Winnard, Gavin Brewer, Luke Watson & Rikki Paylor

Both teams were raring to go and the match kicked off with both teams fighting for the ball, keen to gain an early advantage. It seemed that the Home side were establishing control of the game and dictating the course of play as they managed to get nearer and nearer to opening the scoring.

The first shot at goal came from Away legend Stuart Barlow, who would have put the ball in the top left-hand corner from 20 yards out, had the Home keeper John Davies not made a great save. However the first goal of the match came from the Home side as Mark Rowlands played a superb cross under pressure into the box which right midfielder Darren Wollaston despatched into the top of the net (1-0).

With the chances of an early lead denied to them, the Away side threw themselves into the game once more, trying for an equalizer and even trying a cheeky long shot at goal all the way from the centre of the pitch. The Away team seemed to strengthen all parts of their game as the first-half progressed. Despite this the Home side almost extended their lead as Thomas Knight sent the ball through the Away defence to Steven Hughes who had only the keeper to beat but his shot was hit too close to the Away keeper Anthony Green who did well to cancel out the danger.

The Away side appeared to fade slightly as the first half continued. This gave the Home side a chance to dominate and possibly extend their lead. They almost did as the attackers passing baffled the Away side defence but what was missing was that key pass to secure another goal. The Away side still had some chances but it was mainly the Home side who dictated play in the first half.

And dictate they did. In the 34th minute a throw in from Steven Hughes gave right-back Mike Davies the chance to show his class; he beat two defenders and hammered the ball past the keeper from the edge of the box into the bottom left hand corner of the net (2-0). After this the Away side were determined not to let the Home side increase their lead and focussed all their efforts in keeping play away from their end, showing great resilience in the process.

There was even a bit of injury time as Phil Grant went down after a challenge, though he was swiftly taken off and play resumed. The Away side looked like they were coping well, even without their No 10, with Chris Bradley's well struck long shot almost making it past Home Keeper, John Davies Jnr. Less than a minute later however a long pass down field resulted in Steven Hughes beating the Away defence and hitting his shot past the keeper, it was initially cleared by Ross Nicholson, but Centre Forward Ben Ward was on hand to slide it into the back of the net and increase the Home side's lead (3-0).

Despite this the Away side were still gunning for a goal of their own but were failing to get any change out of a Home defence, expertly organised by the intimidating figure of club legend Matt Jackson. But the Away side persisted and had another two chances at goal only for them to be saved spectacularly by keeper, John Davies Jnr. Half-time arrived only minutes later leaving the highly entertained crowd wondering if the Away side could do anything about their 3 goal deficit.

Half-Time: Everton Home 3 - 0 Everton Away

As play recommenced the Home side seized the ball straight away and charged down the Away end, Mark Rowlands played in an excellent cross but keeper Anthony Green collected comfortably. The Home side pressed again with Stephen Smart having a crack at goal only for it to hit the post. It looked like Steven Hughes would surely finish it off but he hit the crossbar! Hughes couldn't believe it.

With this good omen the Away side seemed to regain some of their earlier vigour and possession evened out. The Home defence stayed as strong as always however and no amount of Away side pressure looked like breaking it down. However the Home side made an error eventually with a hand ball in the box resulting in a penalty and the resulting kick was despatched clinically into the net by the hard working centre forward, Ciaran Barker (3-1).

This sparked some hope in the Away side, who renewed their efforts to close the gap. The Away legend Stuart Barlow nearly succeeded, however his well struck long shot was comfortably caught by John Davies Sr. Both teams were struggling to gain the upper hand as the balance of play evened out but it looked like the Away side were finally gaining the upper hand as they created some chances on goal, however the Home defence held firm and they responded with a few attempts at goal themselves.

With the second half drawing to a close neither side could capitalise on their possession. Both sides were getting close to scoring but they just lacked that killer pass. The Away side came closest when right midfielder Wayne Mackney hit an excellent shot from distance but he was to be denied by a decent save from the keeper.

Full time came soon after, with the Home team running out deserved winners. The game had been an excellent contest played in a great spirit by both teams and they both thoroughly deserved the prolonged applause they received from the friends and family in the stands as they walked off the hallowed Goodison turf.

Full-Time: Everton Home 3 - 1 Everton Away

Man of the Match (Home): Mike Yorke
Man of the Match (Away):
Ross Nicholson
Moment of the Match:
Anthony Green

Home Team: John Davies Jr, John Davies Sr, Matt Jackson, Mike Yorke, Thomas Knight, Jamie Fitzsimmons, Darren Wollaston, Baljinder Singh, Ben Ward, Steven Hughes, Mark Rowlands, Stephen Smart, Richard Allman, Michael Davies & Matthew Snape

Away Team: Anthony Green, Robert Grace, Stuart Barlow, Ross Nicholson, Darren Lowe, Carl Ryder, Wayne Mackney, Daniel Connolly, Ciaran Barker, Phil Grant, Chris Bradley, James Latham, David Tasker, Nick Mernock & Stephen Norbury

Mascots: Jordan Axworthy & William Grace